Ocean Quest Initiatives in the Mergui Archipelago

Posted: 12th December 2019 | Written by: Naomi Chadderton

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Over the years, Burma Boating has shown its strong dedication to sustainability and environmental protection in many ways: banning the use of plastic, waste recycling, use of renewable energy sources and so much more. One particularly emblematic action it has taken is an unprecedented partnership with the Environmental Organisation Ocean Quest, in association with Awei Pila Resort.

Ocean Quest is a Malaysian environmental organisation that was created in 2010. Its main mission is to protect and rehabilitate coral reefs to the benefit of both local ecosystems and human communities. Healthy coral reefs will attract a much larger fish population, which means goods and tourism - their reef building capacity is the best natural and self-sustaining way to stave off coastal erosion. Their role in the food chain and carbon cycle in general is primordial too. Sadly, as everybody knows, coral reefs have suffered decades of aggressions of all sorts and now have to face global warming and a dramatic drop in their number. It is thus high time to protect the existing reefs and repopulate the species wherever it is possible. 

CORAL+NURSERY

Ocean Quest’s methodology includes several actions to accomplish these challenges. Coral nurseries are designed and created to offer a platform to coral propagation and replenishment. Nine of those have been implemented on Pila Island in collaboration with Awei Pila Resort in October alone! This repopulating program will continue for four years.

The protection and preservation of the existing coral population is the second important aspect of this project. It mainly consists of cleaning coral sites by removing plastics and especially the hundreds of fishing nets that have ruined coral reefs for years. 

Another aspect of Ocean Quest’s mission is the cataloging of living species in these sensitive areas. You absolutely need to identify, count and catalog plants and animals before establishing an appropriate diagnosis and course of action to protect an ecosystem. This is why the conservation team of Ocean Quest recently started performing birding twice a week and marine life cataloging once a week, and they have already identified and photographed 47 species of native birds during the first weeks.

Finally, Ocean Quest wishes to involve local Moken populations in this programme: more coral means more fish, but it’s primordial to harmonise protection and fishing through a productive interaction between locals and the conservation team. Fish aggregations will notably be developed apart from coral nurseries so that they can rely on stable fishing areas which will provide a constant supply of food, without interfering with coral protection and repopulation. All these actions take place in different sites of Mergui Islands, and Burma Boating is proud to offer a logistic and stewardship support to Ocean Quest for these matters. 

Images: Burma Boating

 resizedimage18671 Burma Boating logo

 

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