Thursday, January 01, 2009

Do nothing but get honored!!

30th December 2008

Dear Sir/Madam,

We have read the recent fourth quarter 2008 Undersea Journal and noted the award given by PADI to Clement Lee of Borneo Divers. We wish to highlight a few things regarding the mention of our conservation programme, the Mabul Marine Day (MMD).

MMD was a project thought up and started by Sipadan Water Village Resort (SWV) 11 years ago as part of our efforts to conserve the corals in and around Mabul Island. The island at that time was recovering from fish bombing methods used by the local villagers as means of earning an income.

When Sipadan Water Village Resort was first set up on Mabul Island, we worked with the islanders to educate them about alternate fishing methods. We also provided them with training and jobs at our resort so that less of them would have to rely on traditional fishing methods to sustain their families.

However, we still felt that wasn't doing enough for the environment, thus the formation of Mabul Marine Day. Since then, we have had divers volunteer together with our staff to plant corals in and around Mabul Island - with a success rate of 54% coral growth to date.

For the year 2007, we decided to involve other resorts on Mabul Island, so as to extend our conservation and environmental programme. After all, the more resorts are involved, the better for the coral reefs we are trying so hard to preserve. In the end Borneo Divers was invited to join us for this event. However, they were not involved in transplanting any corals.

This year we finally managed to get all the 9 dive operators, villagers, Government agencies & WWF in Mabul to participate in this programme, and thus changed the name to Mabul Marine Week. It was hard at the beginning to get these operators to be involved because of the mentality that this programme belongs solely to Sipadan Water Village Resort. This year all the dive operators were only involved in a general clean-up and not transplanting of coral because of the costs involved for purchasing the necessary materials for the coral planting, such as the marine cement, etc. SWV has always provided its own funds but it cannot provide funds for all the resorts.

After this year’s MMW, we called for a meeting in August and Borneo Divers was elected as event Chairperson for next year's MMW 2009. However, we are sad to point out that since then, there has been no further progress, as Borneo Divers has yet to schedule a meeting up to now. Our clients and agents keep pushing for the new date to promote and sell. We can no longer wait for Borneo Divers, and thus have set 18th-25th July 2009 for the 12th Mabul Marine Week.

For your record the founder of this MMD is Prof Dr. Masayoshi Hayashi from Yokosuka City Museum Japan. We are proud to inform you that our MMD has been honored by International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) as a pioneer of such activities and an effort succeeded to this day worldwide. It also stated in the annual Sabah Tourism calendar.

Attached is our 11th Mabul Marine Week booklet for your perusal.

We are sure that Clement Lee deserves his award - however, we would like to clarify this one issue about the MMD - and would appreciate if you would correct this oversight.

Thank you. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009!!


Alexander Ho
Resort Supervisor

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