The Reef Care Smart Partnership programme is a care and conservation programme targeting several coral reef areas conducted in the Marine Park site (now conducted in Pulau Tioman, Pahang Marine Park). The programme is run by caretakers who consist of individuals or groups or local Malaysians, resort/chalet/boat operators who are appointed by the Department of Fisheries for this programme.
The site area of the Reef Care programme is selected based on the following criteria:
- House reef area, coastal reef or diving/snorkelling location.
- Easily accessible.
- Not in the boat/ferry route area.
- Located in a sheltered area.
- Consent from locals for areas facing their settlement/village.
The following are the conditions set that have been set the Reef Care Smart Partnership Programme:
- There is no ownership or absolute right to use the area – the appointed caretaker is neither involved in any devolution nor transfer of title/exclusive rights
- The area of care is set at only 200m x 100m. However, it can be extended to areas that do NOT have a large population or operator
- Authorized caretakers are local community groups (permanent residents of the island)/operators running resort businesses, chalets or resorts/boat operators & scuba diving ONLY either by individuals, clubs or organisations
- Only the Department of Fisheries Malaysia (DOF) can give permission and approval
- The period of time allowed is for 2 YEARS. The extension of the period can be approved by DOF. (Permission will only be given based on performance after evaluation)
- The Marine Park & Resource Management Division will mark the area of the reef care site using a marker buoy and these four corners of the border are under the responsibility and care of the appointed caretaker
- This marking should NOT BLOCK the ferry/boat crossing route
- The caretaker must ensure that all recreational activities in this area COMPLY with Part IX of the Fisheries Act 1985 and the Fees Order (Marine Park of Malaysia) 2003 as well as other relevant regulations in force
- DOF is NOT responsible for the safety of any individual including tourists, employees and operators involved in the programme
- The department representing the Government of Malaysia will also NOT be responsible for any damage, destruction and loss of property as well as losses suffered by the caretakers during the course of this programme
- DOF may stop or withdraw the Reef Care site area WITHOUT any compensation if the caretaker fails to manage the Reef Care site effectively
- Penalty will be imposed if the Caretaker is found to VIOLATE the conditions and does NOT COMPLY with the rules that have been set
- Caretakers have to manage their own waste such as solid waste, garbage, boat oil and grease as well as other waste products and must comply with the Guidelines approved by the Department of Environment
- Caretakers may apply to change or relocate the Reef Care site
- DOF can conduct inspections/audits on compliancy towards conditions and operating documents
- Operation authorisation letter should be EXHIBITED in a visible and readable area
- DOF will keep a record of the authorisation and approval of each Reef Care Programme conducted
- The caretaker must give permission to any other party to use the area and can lodge a report to DOF if the party violates the ethics and conditions in the Reef Care Programme
- Swimming, snorkelling, diving and underwater photography
- Cleaning garbage at Reef Care site
- Collect coral reef predators such as Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTs) and snails from the Thias species
- Conduct educational activities and public awareness
- Caretakers are allowed to install boat moorings in their respective Reef Care site.
- Changing coral reef ecosystems by manipulating them is PROHIBITED
- If the caretaker wants to carry out reef habitat restoration activities and install artificial reefs at the Reef Care site, it is necessary to obtain approval from DOF in advance
- At an early stage, DOF and Caretakers will conduct research to obtain data such as coral reefs, coral fish, the presence of Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), the effects of physical reef destruction due to anchor boats or due to recreational activities (if any) and the availability of garbage, marine debris, trawl/net remnants or ghost nets
- Monitoring will be conducted over a period of 6 to 9 months on activities prescribed by DOF
- Final stage monitoring will be conducted between August and October and done once a year for each area
Below are the incentives for this programme:
- Gained recognition
- Information on reef care programmes is provided
- Gained exposure
- Educational Programme Coaching Training
- Coral Reef Care and Restoration Training
- Coral Reef Status Monitoring Training
- Other incentives such as allocation of grants, collaboration projects, training opportunities, displays on website and awards ceremonies