Marine Conservation Program: Ghost Net Removals at Pulau Undan and Pulau Nangka, Melaka

Did you know that you can dive in Melaka? Yes. There are diving spots in Melaka, Malaysia. They are Pulau Undan, Pulau Nangka and Pulau Dodol. These three islands were proposed to be gazetted as Melaka Marine Parks and they are currently in the final stages of the gazetting process. The islands are just about 2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. It’s a less traveled place(s) that you can consider should you want to go for some peaceful, non-congested snorkeling or diving.

The distance between these islands in Melaka are close to the mainland. So if you go in the morning, you can return in the evening and it’s only 20 minutes boat ride from the jetty.

These small islands is home for untouched coral gardens with all sorts of captivating marine creatures. These islands are the best alternative for hardcore divers of all disciplines if they are unable to dive in the East Coast due to the monsoon season. These islands are great for snorkelers too.

The local authorities only allowed access to these islands during the day with limited numbers of boat making trips over, but despite of these regulations, some areas surrounding the islands are infested with ghost nets due to fishing activities.

Ghost net is a huge eco-problem. They’re fishing nets that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded in the ocean. More often than not, the ghost nets are nearly invisible in the dim light. They’re usually tangled on a rocky reef or drifting in the open sea.

If not removed, the ghost nets can cause further destruction by smothering coral reefs, devastating shorelines, and damaging boats.

Having realized the issue, Department of Fisheries Melaka (DOF) has decided to take drastic action by organising a Marine Conservation program last Saturday on 5th November 2022; where the mission is to focus on removing the ghost nets from the Malaccan waters.

A bunch of scuba divers, including yours truly and buddies came forward to play small part in the ghost net removal programs.

En. Nawar A. Karim from DOF, giving us divers a short briefing on the clean up plans before we proceed to board the boats that will take us to the islands at the Umbai Jetty.

Listening to the clean up plan of the day. Participants were split into groups for easier coordination.

On board the boat, on the way to Pulau Undan for our first dive and second dive at Pulau Nangka.

A selfie to kill time before we arrived at our dive spot.

My buddies for the conservation program; Cikgu Fariz, Abang Icam and Abang Rocky. Briefing and making dive plans.

Preparing to rock and roll

Managed to take some cute couple pic with my husband before descending and getting down to business.

Another cute pic. Yea. I like taking pictures like this before I start the dive of the day. It helps me keep up the upbeat energy.

Volunteers from other group.

Abang Mael, a participant from other group, getting ready to descend.

Happy faces before descending for our ghost net removal dives. Dark pictures as weather wasn’t quite favourable for us.

It was cloudy and slightly drizzling when we started to dive and it is one of those limited visibility dive again.

Visibility was barely 1m with strong current. Not for faint hearted divers as visibility is kinda bad and body contact were needed throughout the dives, but I absolutely love it.

It was extremely rewarding. Spotted healthy coral gardens with huge red and white sea-fan. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to spot anything as diving in the West Coast of Malaysia is well known for bad visibility but it was really an extraordinary experience, to be able to see sea-fans that are almost as huge as me. If anything, there’s a whole world of undiscovered secrets down there.

On a darker note, ghost nets strangling the corals aplenty too. It’s just as we were told during our briefings.

They’re really hard to remove and it’s so sad that we couldn’t clear everything during our dives. Weather wasn’t exactly favourable to us. Strong currents and bad visibility made it a challenge for us to gather more ghost nets to remove.

But managing to clear some is better than nothing at all, isn’t it?

I’m really sad to see these infesting our waters.

The ghost nets are one of the major contributor to the ocean plastics crisis.

Most modern nets are made of nylon or other plastic compounds that can last for centuries and they’re mostly responsible for trapping and killing a significant number of marine creatures. Ghost nets causes irreversible harm to coral reefs too—breaking corals, exposing them to disease, and even blocking the reefs from the sunlight that they need to grow. They need to be removed at all costs.

One for the album. These are the guys who made rough, limited visibility dives feels like a breeze and work dives feels like a fundive. I’d dive again with them in a heartbeat.

Thank you buddies for taking care of me throughout the entire diving trip. Hope I’ll have the opportunity to dive with all of you again in the future.

This entry was posted in Diving.

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