2012 has been a busy year and we have only just begun.
This year we have had great success in many of the environmental projects we have initiated over the last few years. Our Scuba Junkie S.E.A.S (Shark Education, Awareness & Survival) project has had great success in gaining donations and signatures for shark conservation and we are still carrying out our presentations both on the island and now in Semporna alongside our turtle awareness presentations for the Scuba Junkie Mabul Turtle Hatchery. We have not only gained many signatures for the Project Aware shark petition but also running the project alongside the 'Semporna Shark Sanctuary' which is a proposal to protect a large amount of the marine ecosystem in the area to protect sharks and rays as well as the reduction of destructive fishing practices while at the same time, protecting the livelihoods of the local communities through revenues gleaned from sustainable eco-tourism. This proposal, of which SJ has been advising on for some years, has gained huge headway in recent months with worldwide and local support and many influential people and NGOs backing it with over 22,500 signatures of support.
We have also still been conducting our beach cleans and sponsoring a rubbish collection point of the the local community in which we will remove there rubbish from the island. This is gaining great momentum and we have upped the effort by providing the community with biodegradable bags and helping the, clean there land and place the rubbish in the collection point as well as conduction the Project Aware 'Dive against Debris' dives on mabul and to the Northern islands also alongside Reef Check survays and water quality checks.
We are also very proud to be sponsoring the School of Hope on Mabul for stateless children. This school, run by Stanley Sie from Sphere home stay, provides an education and environmental awareness to local children who would otherwise be denied such a thing. With great respect for Stanley, we are helping by providing 2 teachers who give lessons in English and Environmental awareness as well are teaching alternative livelihoods such as sewing, carving and recycling objects to be sold to tourists with the money going straight back to the school for books and teachers. This has been a great success and we have recently been teaching them to turn recycled plastic into can coolers, sewing fisherman pants and bags and taking them on rubbish cleanups and educational programs.
Our Mabul Turtle hatchery has also been thriving with the help of the local community. With SJ sponsorship, they now have a sense of ownership and financial incentive to protect and record the turtle hatchings on Mabul with over a 1000 turtles released fro the hatchery alone. Also, we have been host to many talks and presentations by our full time environmental officer as well as the representatives from the Tun Sakaran Marine park with their 'Friends of Tun Sakaran Park' initiative where they are giving lessons to the local community in sustainability and the effects of destructive fishing, with many thanks to Helen Brunt and the team.....
We have also recently attended the ADEX (Asian dive expo) to promote and get support for the 'Semporna Shark Sanctuary' and our environmental officer and shark conservationist, Rohan, will be giving a talk at the MIDE (Malaysian Dive Expo) later in the summer on the sharks in the area and the Shark Sanctuary proposal.
Scuba Junkie would like to thank all the divers, tourists, NGOs, operators and importantly, the people of Mabul for their support and for making all these projects a reality. We strive to continue with them and more in the future..............