Submitted by Reef Check Malaysia
Mantanani is a remote island in the South China Sea, an hour off the West coast of Sabah. Home to a traditional fishing community of a thousand or so people, in recent years it has become a popular tourism destination. Reef Check Malaysia has been working with the local community since 2014 to address various conservation issues including fish bombing and tourism impacts.
Our goal is to establish a community-run marine managed area at the island, in which local stakeholders have a say in the management of the island and its resources, and we are working with both local stakeholders and government agencies to achieve this. In addition, we are helping local islanders to develop new livelihoods, and we have conducted a variety of training and capacity building programs, including marketing and entrepreneurial skills and snorkel guiding skills. We have also improved waste management on the island – our recycling system has saved thousands of plastic bottles from ending up in the sea.
Our colleagues on the island recently organized the 2020 Mantanani Reef Day, the third annual celebration to highlight and promote coral reef conservation on the island. The two-day event included education and awareness programs for both school children and islanders, and a reef rehabilitation program with members of the Mantanani Nature Youth Club and resort operators, which saw the deployment of some new coral frames for coral reef restoration.