The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Malaysia Program (WCS Malaysia) lauds the Sarawak Government for gazetting Luconia Shoals as a marine national park effective 18 October last year and formally published in the Sarawak Gazette on 17 January 2019. Located in the South China Sea over the Sunda Continental Shelf in the Malaysian Exclusive Economic Zone, Luconia Shoals is the largest marine national park in the country at over 1 million hectares.
“We acknowledge that the environmental challenges the world is facing is huge,” remarked Tuan Haji Zolkipli Aton, CEO of Sarawak Forestry Corporation. “Creating a marine park of over 1 million hectares is just one of the game-changing initiatives the State will be making to tackle those challenges. We are committed to protecting our natural resources for the betterment of our grandchildren’s futures.”
The park, which is about 163 to 180 kilometers from Sarawak’s shorelines, comprises several reefs with some features exposed during low tide. The marine park also bodes well for Malaysia’s objective to fulfil the Aichi Biodiversity Target of protecting 10 percent of national waters as protected areas. Further, the new MPA designation for Luconia Shoals could generate new opportunities for Sarawak’s ecotourism industry and local businesses.
WCS was one of the partners that provided scientific data to help examine the biological diversity of marine life, especially sharks and rays, off the coast of Sarawak. More than 30 species of sharks and 44 species of rays have been recorded in on-going surveys in various locations throughout the state. To date, measurements have been made of nearly 4,000 specimens.
“At the Wildlife Conservation Society, we applaud the Sarawak Government for taking an important step to protecting the reef, rays, wrasses, groupers, sea turtles, dolphins, and other wildlife vital to the health of the South China Sea,” said Dr. John Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science.
WCS Malaysia is headquartered in Kuching, Sarawak, with offices in Kuala Lumpur, Kahang, Johor and Kuala Rompin in Peninsular Malaysia. Currently, WCS Malaysia works to preserve four priority species – orangutans, sharks and rays, elephants, and tigers. Go to https://programs.wcs.org/malaysia/ for more information on WCS Malaysia and visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WCS.Malaysia/ for updates.