Community understanding and management of dugong and seagrass resources in Johor, Malaysia (MY3).

Malaysia: Sibu and Tinggi Islands, Pulau Tinggi marine park


MY3 seeks to assist local communities in understanding the ecological and economic importance of conserving dugong and seagrass resources and to improve local capacity to manage these resources more effectively in harmony with social, cultural and economic needs.

To this end, a public education campaign will be initiated in Pulau Tinggi, employing posters, educational materials and the distribution of a dugong education storybook, targeting all sections of the community including school children, housewives and fishermen.

The campaign will aim to educate the public on best practices associated with dugong and seagrass management, including: boating activity and safe boat speeds; first responses for the rescue of live stranded and incidentally caught dugongs; seagrass habitat protection; and safe waste management.

MY3 will also introduce a dugong monitoring programme to local people, conducted every six months to stimulate interest in dugong conservation, record reported sightings and develop a digital map of incidences which will be shared with local residents.

Building upon these activities, community opinions will be gauged regarding the form of conservation management required, a pretest conducted (operated by the community itself), and a subsequent management initiative refined, approved and implemented.

  1. Work with local communities and 8 resorts on the two islands to encourage the adoption of dugong and seagrass safeguards.
  2. Build the capacity of local inhabitants to identify key seagrass areas, monitor their use, and inform marine park officials of illegal activities.
  3. Gather public support (at least 60% of the targeted inhabitants) for the introduction of management measures at a local level that would prevent physical damage to seagrass and loss of dugongs, including reduction of boat speeds in seagrass areas, responding to strandings/incidental entangling, encouraging better waste management and dugong/seagrass-friendly tourism practices