Corals hold key to sustainable fishing, marine tourism

National 2 minutes, 7 seconds


PROPAGATION of corals can lead to the preservation of marine ecology and provide long-term sustainable fish population and eco-tourism opportunity, said founder of the Ocean Quest (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Anuar Abdullah yesterday.

“Corals support small fishes which in turn became food to the bigger ones which end up getting sold. Without coral reefs, the fish population won’t be able to grow well,” he said.

“We can put anything we can [that can function] as a shelter for the fish underwater, but they do not produce food like the corals.”

When corals are replanted, said Anuar, they keep the ecology in balance which could help increase the fish stock which would benefit us as well.

“Coral propagation along the Southeast Asian coastline carries a very big impact for the economy and its sustainability.”

Anuar said if the fish stock kept decreasing, it would not be able to support a huge fishing industry which could have devastating impact for those dependent on it.

Aside from preserving the fish stock, the corals could also open more opportunities in marine tourism.

Anuar said that rehabilitation of corals to create beautiful environment and preservation of marine lives can help attract more tourists which can bring in more revenue.

“For example, when you take tourists to a coral reef, they see a fish and pay you $20 for just that one trip,” he said. “But if you catch that fish and sell if for around $10 per kg, that fish is done for.”

Tourism could pave the way for successful conservation, Anuar said.

“Previously a lot of people do not want to commit themselves to conservation because it means trying to save everything which is difficult to do.”

Forcing people to conserve was also not a good idea.

“If you try to stop people, they could end up doing more damage. [I find that] people are more helpful and willing when we just encourage them to build better lives by making better environmentally-conscious decisions.”

Anuar began doing research on corals in 2004. He came up with the Coral Propagation programme eight years later. He wrote a book called “Guide to Coral Propagation: The Ocean Quest Techniques” which he hoped could teach others to grow the corals as well.

“If I plant [the corals] alone, maybe I can plant ten to twenty corals a day. However, if a hundred people can do the same, it will be 100 times much faster,” he said.

“With more people involved, the environment can be rehabilitated at a much faster rate.”

– Waqiuddin Rajak

The Brunei Times