Hard corals mapping for Semporna, Malaysia

Choo Poh Leem

The main aim of this project is to complete the mapping for threatened species of coral, measuring their abundance and distribution in Semporna. At the same time, this project will provide education and awareness to dive operators, government agencies and local communities in coral reef protections and implement conservation efforts collaboratively with stakeholders. This species information about corals will be shared and used by the Authority Zone Conservation Area through the Marine Spatial Planning Project for Semporna District. To date, the coral reefs in Semporna are threatened by various destructive fishing methods, overfishing, water pollution, and coastal development etc. However, the importance of coral reef ecosystem to the fisheries and food security has not been properly acknowledged. Furthermore, the reefs are also the main attraction for tourism and diving activities in Semporna, where Sipadan Island is ranked as the top diving site in the world. A multi-use zoning plan for marine areas will contribute to the habitat and species protection only if the information of the species has been acknowledged and the public been made aware. Hence, the output of this project will compliment existing conservation plans.