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Mantanani and Darvel Bay move

SEMPORNA: The Sabah Parks will gazette two areas, namely Pulau Mantanani Complex in Kota Belud and Darvel Bay in Lahad Datu, as marine protected areas before 2023.SP Director Dr Jamili Nais said the move was in line with the SP sketch map whereby 10 of the waters of Sabah would have been gazetted by 2023. As such, he said currently, the 100,000ha Darvel Bay encompassing 50 surrounding islands has the potential to be gazetted earlier.‘’If we look at the current situation, in terms of timeline, the process has started and maybe (gazette) at the end of this year or early 2020, but most probably we gazette in the first quarter of 2020,’’ he said.

Subsequently, Jamili said the Pulau Mantanani Complex would be gazetted in two years. In a scientific expedition organised by the Sabah Foundation in February, researchers found numerous interesting and unique marine data in Darvel Bay, Lahad Datu, which could be conserved and used for international tourism. Among the findings were several iconic diving sites, including blue holes (underwater sinkholes) and marine resources such as wild turtles and healthy corals. Quoting a local news portal, the operator of a diving centre Pirate Divers Glen Hapirulla, who is a native of Lahad Datu and an experienced diver, said 55 diving sites had been explored, including blue holes, in the waters of Silam since 2009. The Pulau Mantanani Complex is a resort area which is becoming increasingly popular as a diving recreational site among international tourists.

Meanwhile, Sabah Parks is exploring the need for porters or mountain guides to accompany visitors up Pulau Bohey Dulang’s 700m high peak, just like in the Gunung Kinabalu National Park.“Bohey Dulang allows three times more climbers up its mountain compared to Gunung Kinabalu which allows just 135 people,” said Sabah Parks Board of Trustees Chairman, Mohd Amin Abd Mem.“At the moment, there are 250 guides and 100 porters registered with Sabah Parks who are able to go with climbers up Gunung Kinabalu to look out for their safety and bring their belongings.“So like the local community there, becoming a guide on Bohey Dulang would improve the income of the people here who could make RM230 per visitor on a two-day, one-night hike,” he said.

On Tuesday, a new hiking route was opened for visitors to the island which is a 30-minute boat ride from Semporna town on the mainland. Sabah Parks worker, Ali Hassan, said 300 to 700 people, especially tourists from China, visit a day.

Source: Daily Express | Mar 14, 2019