The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TAR Park) in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is a Section 3 protected national park, which means only single line fishing with a maximum of 2 hooks is permitted by indigenous fishermen.
The use of nets within the park is prohibited, but sadly this protection does not stop lost and abandoned fishing gear, primarily large trawl and drift nets, floating into the region and coming to rest within the more protected, low-energy, shallow water environments.
Whilst SCUBA diving around Gaya Island in the TAR Park we found a huge fishing net smothering the reef posing a real threat to the living coral and surrounding marine life.
Disturbed by what we found we called upon the KK Dive Club to volunteer their time and help us with the delicate, time consuming job of carefully removing the net from the reef.
KK Dive Club members were more than happy to lend a helping hand and spend their free time with us removing the net.
After the job was done we provided them a free lunch and refreshments and they got to spend the rest of the day at our Beach House on Gaya Island – in fact they played Frisbee on the grassy green next to our Dive Centre.
Since this net removal project we discovered another net on Sapi Island, caught in the net was a dead black tip reef shark and a parrot fish.
The worry with this particular net was that it was still floating and therefore consuming more victims.
We called Sabah Parks, the governing body in charge of the parks protection.
They immediately called on the Marine Police to investigate the situation and began cutting the net to pieces to avoid any further casualties.
The following day Sabah Parks staff returned with our logistic support and some of our own staff to remove the net from the reef.
We would like to thank the KK Dive Club for helping us remove the first devastating fishing net.
We highly commend Sabah Parks for their immediate response and commitment to removing the second fishing net and providing protection for the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.
Should you wish to join the KK Dive Club and get involved in Conservation and Awareness Programs please visit the website or contact us for more information.
Should you wish to SCUBA Dive with us in this stunning tropical paradise, join us for our daily leisure and fun dives.