Long MCO period helps ‘heal’ marine ecosystem, says diver

Iqbal (left) and a fellow diver ‘re-explore’ the Nemo City dive site.

MIRI: The earlier Movement Control Order (MCO) period has helped the marine ecosystem here to recover from the damage primarily caused by human activities.

Founder of Future Ocean Borneo (FOB), who is also a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)-certified divemaster, Iqbal Abdollah, said his recent ‘return to the sea’ with his fellow diving enthusiasts was a ‘very enriching experience’.

“We went to Eve’s Garden, which is less than five nautical miles off Miri, and then to Nemo City, Kenyalang Wreck and Anemone Garden. The coral reefs are in incredible condition. While there are several corals that were already dead before the MCO, other species seem to thrive.

“Our dive in Kenyalang Wreck was enjoyable as we saw a lot of fish species such as sweetlips, snappers, and porcupine puffer fish, as well as sea snakes and banded shrimps.

Iqbal views the MCO period as being one of the best remedies for the seas and the ocean to recover from the damage caused many human activities, such as overfishing.

“I would agree that the MCO period has served as one of the best remedies for the seas and the ocean to recover from the damage caused by many human activities, such as overfishing.

“In the three month without human activities, the marine life has been given the space and time to repopulate. Having said this, the marine environment should be well-protected from now onwards,” he said.

Iqbal and his team were among those who went diving after the reopening of the Miri-Sibuti Marine National Park by Sarawak Forestry Corporation on June 22.

Meanwhile, Co Co Dive Miri manager Jimmy Yong told thesundaypost that they would be kept busy over the next several weeks, in that they had been receiving more bookings for diving group trips.

“We have bookings from diving enthusiasts who have been calling us since during the MCO period.

“Nonetheless, we are making sure that all the standard operating procedures (SOP) would be strictly followed, and they include limiting the number of divers at any particular trip.”

Nevertheless, Yong said this also served as a critical time for his side to do its part in educating divers about the importance of keeping the seas and ocean clean.

“We have the power to make a difference. Helping to educate them on awareness of pollution and other harmful human activities is vital in keeping the balance in the marine ecosystem,” he added.

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Source: https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/06/28/long-mco-period-helps-heal-marine-ecosystem-says-diver/