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Sipadan now a protected park
Published on: Sunday, March 06, 2016
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Semporna: The gazette of 6,846 hectares surrounding Pulau Sipadan is aimed at enhancing enforcement and efforts to preserve marine life in the area, which is known as the best scuba-diving location in the world.The State Government had gazetted the area as a protected park in July last year.

A ceremony was held on Saturday where the Permanent Secretary to the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry Datuk Ginun Yangus officially launched the area as a protected park.

Yangus told a media conference after the event that with the gazette of the additional area, the Sipadan park now covered 16,860 hectares, including 13.5 hectares of land area.

He said the gazette was made under the Sabah Parks Enactment 1984.

"By gazetting the area as a protected park, enforcement and monitoring can be done more effectively, which help in preserving the coral reefs.

"It also provides new source of revenue for the Sabah Parks," he said.

Meanwhile, Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais said his office, with the cooperation and commitment of the relevant agencies, would continue to manage and protect the park in line with the Sabah Park Strategic Plan 2025.

However, he said, it success would depend on the cooperation of all quarters, including non-governmental organisations and the society.

He said the Sabak Parks had also appointed four Dive Marshals to monitor scuba diving activities in Sipadan.

A dive marshal, Arthur Severinus, said their role was to ensure ethical diving by divers. "We also check on boats to ensure that no fishing equipment is brought into the area," he added.

Sipadan has not been returned to Sabah entirely, said Nais.

He said the island continues to be under the supervision of the Home Ministry, but at the same time a marine park under State purview.

"It is only doubly gazetted, under the Federal Act (Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959) and additionally, now the waters around Sipadan, including the island is a park," he said.

Fees collected from the diving and other sources of revenue derived from the water activities in the area would continue to be channeled to Federal.

Sabah Parks had been doing the collection for about a year after the Island was gazetted under the Federal Act in 1997.

Dr Jamili hoped the island would eventually be under the full control of the State.



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