The Datai Langkawi launches Fish for the Future to establish a sustainable ecosystem for fisheries
As the world tackles global overfishing, coral bleaching, marine pollution and unsustainable fishing practices, The Datai Langkawi is initiating steps within its Teluk Datai area and The Datai Bay to preserve and strengthen its natural surroundings, by introducing the first of one of the resort’s many sustainable initiatives – Fish for the Future.
Through the years, fishermen from Langkawi have reported a decline in their annual fish catch, believed to be a combination of coastal pollution and poor fishing practices carried out around the island. This may have caused the decline in the health of coral reef ecosystems.
After years of observation and research by The Datai Langkawi’s nature team, led by conservationist and Resident Naturalist Irshad Mobarak, a three-pronged approach was developed to positively impact and promote sustainable fishing at Datai Bay.
Creation of Artificial Reefs
Following the guidelines of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD) have been purposely built to provide a gathering point for a range of adult fish in varying sizes. There will be five FAD structures that will be deployed strategically next to the Datai Bay’s natural coral reef to simultaneously propagate algae and create additional space for the reef to spread to the structure. The FAD structures stands at 3.7 metres in height and 3 metres in length, with a life expectancy of more than 50 years. The material used is galvanised steel, coated with zinc for corrosion resistance that is both lightweight and easy to handle. The FADs will be submerged between 6 and 8 metres deep in the ocean.
A dedicated team of Marine Biologist from The Nature Team will be instrumental in ensuring the artificial reefs are continuously monitored to protect the structures and its surroundings.
Engagement with the local community and fishermen
Due to this initiative, the resort’s creation and placement of the FAD structures removes pressure from the natural coral reef and provides an alternative for fishes to thrive in. In time, this will provide an alternative sustainable fishing ground for the local fishermen, where we aim to offer support into their livelihood by buying their fish supply directly from them.
Existing fishermen communities from Kubang Badak, Teluk Ewa, Pantai Pasir Hitam, Tanjung Rhu, and Kilim, which are part of the Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) zone, will have plans to collaborate on similar fish aggregation projects to sustain and increase fish supply.
Coral reef rehabilitation
A coral nursery will be implemented in the following months to rehabilitate the coral reefs within Datai Bay. Once they have been rehabilitated at The Nature Centre in tanks measuring two metres each, the coral will be transplanted back into the ocean.
“The Datai Langkawi has always been an advocate for nature and sustainability efforts for the past 25 years. After the renovations, it was important to create a long-term and meaningful programme to help sustain our environment. I am a believer in making a difference within our capacity and confident that our initiative as pioneers, will be an example for more hospitality industries to pledge sustainable practices. We are also very grateful to Dato’ Haji Munir bin Haji Mohd Nawi, Director General of Department of Fisheries Malaysia, for his belief in our cause”, says Arnaud Girodon, General Manager.
“When it comes to restoring the environment, education is key and by sharing our sustainable efforts, our guests will find a deeper appreciation of biodiversity and reconnect with nature within the hotel’s surroundings. The Fish for the Future initiative offers them a chance to see first-hand the rehabilitation exercise of coral reefs and fish aggregation projects,” says renowned naturalist and author Irshad Mobarak, who also leads the resort’s new The Nature Centre.
The launch to deploy the artificial reefs will take place on 16 January 2019 at The Datai Langkawi and officiated by YB Tuan Azman bin Nasrudin from Keddah State Executive Council of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Transportation and Human Development, and Azahar bin Ahmad, Head of Development of Fisheries Langkawi.
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Luxury Holidays Direct (www.luxuryholidaysdirect.com; T. 020 8774 7298) offers seven nights at The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia from £1749 per person in a Canopy Deluxe Room including breakfast and return Economy Class flights on British Airways from London Heathrow. Travel dates: 01 May – 30 June 2019.