This weekend the Blue Ventures Malaysia (BVM) team, along with 4 university students from Kuala Lumpur, have been taking part in a reef clean-up event organised by the Department of Marine Park Malaysia (DMPM). One of the main aims of the clean-up was the removal of Crown of Thorns – venomous sea stars which eat the hard coral. Triton shells, their main natural predator, have been removed by human influence which has lead to a sharp rise in their numbers. Removing them from the reefs helps to restore the balance and prevent further destruction to the coral.
As well as participating in the clean-up itself, BVM also produced a video explaining why the clean-up was necessary, and how to remove the Crown of Thorns without causing further damage to the coral. The video can be viewed on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPboe-5D3OA.
The weekend kicked off with registration and opening ceremony at the Tioman Marine Park Centre. The event attracted over a hundred volunteers comprised of local dive shops and external dive clubs. The dive sites were then split amongst the groups, and we headed out to start collecting. Over the two days BVM collected 93 Crown of Thorns, and more than a thousand Crown of Thorns were collected from around Tioman in total.
Another part of the weekend was a beach litter pick in conjunction with the local school in Tekek. The university students gave a presentation on rubbish, and how it can be avoided by the “3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. We then hit the beach, sorting the collected rubbish into material groups as we went. Then back at the school the school children discussed how the 3 R’s could be applied to the collected rubbish. Finally the day was rounded off by making bottle rockets out of the collected litter.