[Coral-List] Sabah's turtles / reefs and reefballs to the rescue

Nicolas J. Pilcher pilcher at tm.net.my
Wed Mar 22 19:06:00 EST 2006

Hi all:
The turtle islands (there are three) were purchased by the Sabah State 
Government in 1966, and have been home to only a small team of rangers and 
their families since that time. On Selingan there is also a small 
detachment of security personnel. There is a significant trawl industry out 
of nearby Sandakan.

In Sarawak, our neighbouring state, the Parks authority seeded reefballs at 
random in waters near their islands to deter bottom trawling - the idea was 
that no trawler captain wanted to be raising a reefball in his nets. By and 
large this worked there. I am not aware of the reason for deploying them in 
Sabah though - however, if the reason was to deter netting, it is likely 
successful at that - just not at creating a new reef or providing erosion 

As for turtle nesting, the population size / nesting trend is (for the 
most) part not related. I raised the turtle nesting issue simply because 
the age to maturity is in the region of 30 years, and the hatchlings that 
leave return as adults to the same beaches - thus the stability is 
obviously sufficient for the beaches to continue to exist 30 years later 
without the need for reefballs.

Hope this helps,

At 04:37 PM 3/20/2006 -0800, Lee Goldman wrote:
>Hi Todd,
>   I'm afraid i'm a bit confused by your statement about the reef balls in 
> Sabah. You established a bunch of reef balls 8 years ago and that has 
> stopped the netting(?) and substantially increased the amount of turlte 
> nestings in the area? Can you please elaborate on this and included your 
> evidence? Also, when were these islands made off limits to humans? 
> Perhaps, assuming that 8 years is enough time to see an increase in 
> turtle nesting, there is a stronger correlation to the increase in turtle 
> nestings due to lack of human interference?
>   Thanks,
>   Lee Goldman
>   Coralfarmguam
>   PO Box 6682
>   Tamuning, Guam
>   671.646.6744
>   Coralfarmgaum at yahoo.com
>Yahoo! Mail
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>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

Dr. Nicolas J. Pilcher
Co-Chair IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group

Executive Director
Marine Research Foundation
136 Lorong Pokok Seraya 2
Taman Khidmat
88450 Kota Kinabalu

Tel ++ 60 88 386136
Fax ++ 60 88 387136
Email: pilcher at tm.net.my

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