Community understanding & management of dugong & seagrass resources in Johor, Malaysia (MY3)
Leela Rajamani A/P Ramnatha Rajamani1, Wan Mustaffa Wan Din1, Norizan Bt. Esa2, Sim Yee Kwang1 & Nurul Farhana Low Bt. Abd.3
1Centre For Marine & Coastal Studies (CEMACS), Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 USM Penang, Malaysia.
2School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 USM Penang, Malaysia.
3School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 USM Penang, Malaysia.
Executive Summary of Research Proposal
(This Project is executed by The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, with financing from the GEF and implementation support by UNEP. The project execution is technically supported by the UNEP CMS Dugong MoU Secretariat; Sep 2015 - Sep 2018)
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.
- Work with local communities and 8 resorts on the two islands to encourage the adoption of dugong and seagrass safeguards.
- Build the capacity of local inhabitants to identify key seagrass areas, monitor their use, and inform marine park officials of illegal activities.
- 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.