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Saturday 21st June this year, marked the 8th Annual Reef Day event at The Reef Dive Resort, Mataking Island; in collaboration with WWF Malaysia. The theme this year was “Love the Ocean, Respect the Reef”.

The management and staff of Mataking Island were joined by WWF Malaysia, Green Semporna, Reef Check Malaysia, Wanita Pulau Omadal (WAPO), guests from the resort, students from SK St Patrick and SJK Sin Hwa in Tawau and SK Pekan Semporna and children from nearby Kalapuan. The PGA and Army based at Mataking also gave a hand.

The day started with a light breakfast, followed by a welcome address by Mr. Patrick Guillaumin-Galland, Resort Manager, and by Miss Monique Sumampouw, SSME Deputy Manager/Semporna Team Leader of WWF-Malaysia.

Then, Tuan Haji Zulkiflee bin Allani, PPM DUN Sulabayan, representing Yang Berhormat Dato' Dr. Jaujan bin Haji Sambakon, ADUN N. 52 Sulabayan, gave the opening speech, followed by the official launch of the Green Semporna Anti Fish Bombing Song and CD: “Suara Si Karang”.

Awareness talks on coral reefs protection followed, given by Mr Amirul Afiq Abdullah and Mr Muhammadd Adzmin bin Abd Fatta from Green Semporna.

Participants then split into groups and carried out the traditional beach cleaning of both Mataking Besar and its sister island Mataking Kecil, but also at Kalapuan and Pandanan islands. These four islands are unfortunately often victims of floating rubbish from the mainland, such as plastic bottles, cans and other discarded waste.

At the same time, scuba divers, both guests and staff, also did a “Dive Against Debris” to clean the already beautiful Mataking House Reef.

In just a couple of hours, 289 full bags of rubbish were collected from the beach and underwater, weighing a total of 1377.4 kg!

Following their rubbish collection, all enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch at the Resort restaurant, followed by an afternoon of quizzes and games, while our VIPs officially launched the new Mataking Reef Rehabilitation and Adoption Project, aimed at collecting fund through coral frame adoptions, to fund the rehabilitation of damaged areas of the Mataking Reef due to previous fish bombing. Tuan Haji Zulkiflee bin Allani gave the first adoption certificate to the first adopters: The Reef Dive Centre Team.

After the traditional group photo session on the beach, prizes were given out for teams who collected the most rubbish on beaches and underwater and for the winners of the games. The Kalapuan children also rewarded the assistance with a special dance performance while Resort staff performed the Mataking Song.

The day concluded with a big surprise, when 155 baby hawksbill turtles, born on the same day at Mataking, were released at sea with everyone to wish them a long and exciting life. Definitely a moment to remember for all our young, and less young, participants!

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