Tag Archives: Covid-19

法祖尔 — 曼塔纳尼岛的潜水长新生代

曼塔纳尼岛民莫赫德·法祖尔·本·马达利(Mohd Faizul bin Madali)终日无所事事,就等着疫情过去后游客们回来。他是一名潜水长,2020年3月封锁令之后一直没有工作,只能靠家人接济。

“之前我的生活是潜水、吃饭、睡觉”,22岁的法祖尔说,“现在是吃了睡,睡了吃。”

他说自己的村子有100人,几乎每个人都依靠旅游业谋生。岛上另一个比较大的村子的情况也是如此。曼塔纳尼岛是沙巴西北海岸附近群岛中唯一一个有人居住的岛屿。

游客目前仍然来不了,许多岛民已经重操旧业,以捕鱼为生。正如法祖尔所说,几乎没有其他选择:“不靠大海,我们还能从哪里获得收入?”

当被问及他们是否使用炸鱼弹时,他马上回答道:“不不不!不再用了。”他坚持认为,即使岛屿周围有炸鱼活动,那肇事者也是“外面的人,可能来自(沙巴大陆上的)亚庇(Kota Kinabalu)”。

法祖尔已经向当局报告封锁期间非当地渔船入侵的情况,为它们在浅水区使用渔网,破坏珊瑚而愤怒。

“我很难过,因为珊瑚之前还活着,但被他们弄死了。谢天谢地,还有法律(可以解决这个问题)……旅游业也依靠健康美丽的珊瑚。谁想看死珊瑚啊?中国游客很挑的!”

Faizul (second from right) joins other Reef Check Malaysia divers to “plant” new corals on a Mantanani reef destroyed by fish-bombing (Image: Adzmin Fatta / Reef Check Malaysia)
法祖尔(右二)与马来西亚珊瑚礁检查组织的潜水员一起在被炸鱼破坏的曼塔纳尼珊瑚礁上“种植”新的珊瑚。图片来源 :Adzmin Fatta / Reef Check Malaysia

法祖尔是一名持证的“生态潜水员”,同时还是马来西亚珊瑚礁检查组织旗下曼塔纳尼青年俱乐部(一个养护能力建设项目)的成员,并积极参与该组织的珊瑚调查活动。

但和其他岛民不同的是,法祖尔没有通过捕鱼来维持生计:“我怎么知道该如何捕鱼?我只会带人潜水,教他们怎么潜水。”

翻译:YAN/中外对话

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本文由Macaranga与中外对话China Dialogue Ocean合作完成。

遏制珊瑚礁间的炸鱼:沙巴州的故事

当旅游业遭新冠疫情重创,当地居民的生活难以为继,许多人担心这种破坏性捕捞方式将卷土重来

一声低沉的爆炸声响起,潜水员们愣在了原地,不安地看着同伴和潜水长。幸运的是,爆炸似乎离得非常远,不影响他们继续探索色彩斑斓的珊瑚礁。

在沙巴州,炸鱼是潜水业的噩梦,不仅让游客望而却步,而且还摧毁着海洋生物,并且危及渔民自身的安全。

(Photo: 沙巴的曼塔纳尼群岛(Mantanani islands)附近海域一枚未爆炸的自制捕鱼炸弹。图片来源:Adzmin Fatta / Reef Check Malaysia)

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Faizul — Mantanani’s Divemaster Generation

MANTANANI native Mohd Faizul bin Madali is twiddling his thumbs waiting for the pandemic to end and tourists to return.

He is a divemaster and has been without work since lockdowns began in March 2020, relying instead on his family to support him.

“Previously, my life was diving, eating, sleeping,” says the 22-year-old. “Now, it’s eating, sleeping, eating, sleeping.”

He says virtually everyone in his village of 100 people has been dependent on tourism. The same is true of the other, larger village on Mantanani, the only inhabited island of a small group off Sabah’s northwest coast.

Back to fishing

With tourists still unable to visit, many islanders have returned to fishing as a way to make a living. As Faizul remarks, there are very few alternatives: “Where else are we going to get an income if not from the sea?”

When asked if they use fish bombs, he is quick to respond: “No, no, no! Not any more.” If fish-bombing is taking place around the islands, he is adamant the perpetrators are “outsiders, maybe from Kota Kinabalu [on the mainland]”.

Faizul has reported to the authorities the intrusion of non-local fishing boats during lockdown, incensed that they used nets in shallow waters, destroying the coral.

“I felt sad because the coral used to be alive, but they killed it. Thank goodness there are laws [to tackle this]… Tourism also depends on corals being beautiful and healthy. Who wants to look at dead corals? And Chinese tourists are very particular!”

Faizul (second from right) joins other Reef Check Malaysia divers to “plant” new corals on a Mantanani reef destroyed by fish-bombing (Image: Adzmin Fatta / Reef Check Malaysia)
Faizul (second from right) joins other Reef Check Malaysia divers to “plant” new corals on a Mantanani reef destroyed by fish-bombing (All images: Adzmin Fatta / Reef Check Malaysia)

A certified “eco-diver”, Faizul is also part of Reef Check Malaysia’s Mantanani Youth Club, a capacity-building conservation initiative, and takes an active part in the NGO’s reef surveys.

Unlike other islanders, however, he has not turned to fishing to make ends meet: “How would I know how to do that? What I can do is bring people diving and teach them how to dive.”

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This Insight is a collaboration with China Dialogue Ocean.

Tackling fish-bombing among the coral reefs of Sabah

With tourism hit by the pandemic and local people struggling to make ends meet, many fear a resurgence of this destructive fishing method.

AT THE sound of a muffled “boom”, the divers pause and look uneasily at each other and their divemaster. Luckily, the blast seems far enough for the group to continue exploring the colourful reef.

Fish-bombing is the stuff of nightmares for the diving industry in Sabah. Not only does it put off the tourists, it also devastates marine life and endangers the fishers themselves.

(Photo: An unexploded, homemade fish bomb off the Mantanani islands, Sabah | Image by: Adzmin Fatta / Reef Check Malaysia)

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The Pandemic and Our Growing Disconnection from Nature

Forced to stay home from the Movement Control Order, Tan Win Sim reflects on his – and our – deteriorating connection with nature.

A WISPY layer of dust has settled on my binoculars. Much to my dismay, I cannot recall the last time I went out for a stroll down untrodden paths while enjoying the gentle breeze and listening to the cheerful tweets of forest birds.

The Melaka Botanical Garden, just a stone’s throw from my hometown in Jasin, has always been one of my favourite birding spots.

While the Garden’s bird diversity pales in comparison to that of Panti Bird Sanctuary or Endau Rompin National Park, it is still a bird haven in the sprawling urban landscape of Melaka.

(Photo: A Grey-bellied Bulbul taking a dip in a relatively undisturbed forest in Johor. Such a clear stream is almost impossible to find in the Malaysian urban landscape. Pic by Tan Win Sim)

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What Conservationists Want In Budget 2021

ACCORDING to the Parliamentary schedule, the Malaysian government will table Budget 2021 in the Parliamentary meeting on 6 November. 

The Budget would reflect the government’s plans to carry the country out of the pandemic woes of 2020. 

Malaysians have had a troubled year. Our lives, economy and national policies were derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic and unexpected changes in the Federal government and state governments of Johor, Melaka, Kedah and Sabah

Many conservation groups struggled to keep finances and operations running.

Amidst the turbulence, Malaysians continue to see our environment degrade: pollution of rivers and coasts; clear-felling and degazettement of forest reserves for economic activities; human-elephant conflicts; and poaching. 

Continue reading What Conservationists Want In Budget 2021

“The Pandemic Killed Everything We Had Planned”

In their own words, conservationists share their their struggles during the Covid-19 pandemic. Part of Macaranga‘s Taking Stock series, these stories were written based on interviews; all interviewees approved the text.

DR WONG SIEW TE, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

THE PANDEMIC killed everything that we had planned for this year.

We have one major source of revenue – visitors. There are other sources, of course: donations, bear adoption programmes.

But with job losses and the economy deteriorating, it has affected a lot of our supporters.

(Photo: To generate income, Wong Siew Te is offering live virtual tours of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre . Pic: BSBCC)

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Covid-19 Woes Continue for Conservation

Dire finances and stunted activity continue to plague Malaysia’s conservation sector because of Covid-19. Macaranga surveys the landscape in our Taking Stock series.

FROM GAPS in research to the loss of funding and conversely, wider outreach, Malaysian conservation organisations of every size have been impacted by Covid-19.

But what exactly are these impacts? How have the organisations adapted to this crisis? And have they strengthened their resilience against future shocks?

(Photo: Educational activities involving volunteers and groups have been disrupted [Malaysian Nature Society Facebook])

Continue reading Covid-19 Woes Continue for Conservation

Sustainable Islands in the Sun

Sabah’s beautiful islands can be managed so that tourists, nature and local livelihoods co-exist. This is the second of a two-parter on ecotourism in Macaranga’s Taking Stock series. .

FOR YEARS now, mass tourism has been impacting the environmental health of coral islands off Sabah’s west coast. Among them is the Mantanani three-island group, located off the northwestern tip of Borneo.

But there are far fewer tourists now as the pandemic stifles travel. Some islanders are using the lull to try new businesses and better manage their environment.

(Photo: Sun, sea and surf have turned Mantanani into a major tourist draw. Pic by Reef Check Malaysia)

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When Covid Resets Ecotourism

The loss of international tourists due to the Covid-19 pandemic has shackled the ecotourism industry, but is it also bad for conservation? This is the first of a two-parter on ecotourism in Macaranga’s Taking Stock series.

TOUR GUIDE Ahmad Shah Amit had been looking forward to the summer holiday season in Europe. In any other year, European tourists, up to 1,000 a day, would flock to the wildlife-rich Kinabatangan region in Sabah.

There, they would pay locals like Ahmad, popularly know as Tapoh, to show them Bornean pygmy elephants and proboscis monkeys.

(Photo: The popularity of river safaris to catch sight of Borneo’s Big Five helps conserve wildlife. Pic by Cede Prudente)

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