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150kg of rubbish cleared from Similajau waters

KUCHING: More than 150kg of marine debris, including buoys, nets and anchor lines, were removed from the waters of Similajau National Park and Patricia Reef off Bintulu by volunteer divers.
The divers from Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd (MLNG), Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Fire and Rescue Department, Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd and marine police were taking part in the annual beach and reef-cleaning programme at the national park waters under a RM10mil coral reef conservation initiative – Biodiversity, Environmental and Conservation (Beacon) Project – jointly undertaken by MLNG and SFC.
This year’s clean-up took place for two days recently.
Launched in 2013, the Beacon Project aims to protect, conserve, regenerate and enhance marine biodiversity, particularly coral reefs, by deploying reef balls in the waters off Bintulu.
“The project’s key achievements include the deployment of some 1,400 artificial reef balls and the completion of a RM2mil visitor and marine studies centre at the park.
“Green turtles have also returned to the Similajau beach after a seven-year absence and 387 turtle hatchlings have been released into the sea so far,” MLNG said in a statement yesterday.
SFC said new corals have taken root on the artificial reef balls and grown to about 12 inches long.
Coral reefs provide homes and nursery grounds to many marine species such as sharks, groupers, barracudas and dolphins, it said.
In last year’s clean-up programme, more than 100kg of marine debris were removed from the national park and Patricia reef complex.
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