Tun Mustapha Park Now Open in Malaysia

More than a decade of planning and effort became a reality this year with the opening of Malaysia’s Tun Mustapha Park, located in a section of the western Pacific known as the Coral Triangle. Encompassing more than 2.4 million acres, the park is an environmental wonder, featuring more than 360 species of fish and 250 species of coral.

Director General of the World Wildlife Fund International Marco Lambertini believes the park can act as an inspiration for marine conservation worldwide. “The establishment of Tun Mustapha Park will boost the conservation and biodiversity of this uniquely rich natural environment,” Lambertini says. “This will also help ensure the sustainable management of the significant marine resources in the area that support jobs, livelihoods, and food security.”

This region contains the world’s second largest concentration of coral reefs in Malaysia, and also includes mangrove forests and seagrass beds, providing a rich environment for the many species of fish and marine animals who live in Tun Mustapha Park. With more than 50 islands found within its boundaries, many thousands of people reside here as well, making their living from the sea.

How do commercial fishing operations and a marine reserve work together? By design. The mission of Tun Mustapha Park is to protect marine resources and promote sustainable development. The marine park was planned as a mixed use venue, allowing for sustainable fishing practices in designated areas of the park, which then help grow and support the local communities.

In a region that has suffered from overfishing in the past, these waters are now thriving. Among the many species of fish and corals in these waters, there are also sea turtles, sharks, sea snakes, dugongs, and migratory whales. Tun Mustapha Park will stand as a prime example of how man and the sea can live together and protect one another in harmony.

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Image via WWF Malaysia