Overcoming knowledge gaps and involving the local community in supporting the establishment of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) for the conservation of dugongs and seagrass in the Bay of Brunei, Lawas, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo (MY5).
Malaysia: Bay of Brunei, Lawas, Sarawak.
This project aims to establish a Marine Protected Area (MPA) for the conservation of dugongs and seagrass in the Bay of Brunei, Lawas, Sarawak East Malaysia. The lack of protection for the seagrass habitat against destructive fishing practices and coastal development has exposed it to the risk of degradation. MY5 will involve: data gathering, raising awareness and capacity-building in Lawas to mobilize local support for the MPA and establish the governance structure of the MPA; and undertaking the legal establishment of the MPA.
Field monitoring of dugong populations will be conducted via an unmanned aerial surveillance (UAS) system (drone) four times per year and an aerial survey once per year in August 2016 and August 2017, using pre-determined line transect surveys.
The establishment of an MPA will help to eradicate detrimental fishing practices and ensure sustainable coastal development. Findings from the project will be used by SFCSB to develop a Sarawak State Cabinet Paper for the gazettement of Lawas National Park in order to serve the preservation of dugongs and seagrass.
MY5 will also work with fishermen to prevent incidental by-catch, and will initiate an inclusive public consultation process for the development of the MPA which will help to raise the awareness and build the capacity of local communities. It will also target both school children and the broader local community through two public awareness programmes.
- Gather data in support of the establishment of a MPA and prevention of further degradation of seagrasses and loss of dugongs.
- Raise awareness and build capacity in Lawas to mobilize local support for, and establish the governance structure of, the MPA.
- Undertake the legal establishment of the MPA.
- Contribute knowledge on dugong population ecology and seagrass to State and Federal Cabinet Meeting agendas.
- Contribute knowledge to the National Plan of Action (NPOA) for the conservation and management of dugongs and seagrass in Malaysia.
- Involve the local community in conserving dugongs and seagrass.