GELANG PATAH: A biodiversity masterplan for Johor is in the pipeline and it will be spearheaded by the Johor Biotechnology and Biodiversity Corporation (J-Biotech).
The masterplan, a Johor government initiative, will ensure sustainable development in the state while making sure conservation and preservation efforts are implemented.
J-Biotech chief executive officer Wan Amir Jeffrey Wan Abdul Majid said the masterplan will likely take two years to be completed.
One of the masterplan's highlights is the setting up of an eco-marine research centre, which will be built in either Pulau Sibu in Mersing, or the upcoming Forest City off Gelang Patah.
"The eco-marine research centre which will carry out research work, data collection, and for researchers to come together, is part of the masterplan," Wan Amir said.
"It is aimed at spreading awareness on the importance of sustainable development among the local and international community, and we will also focus on research education.," said Wan Amir Jeffrey.
He said the eco-marine centre would become a meeting point for researchers to undertake studies on marine species, to focus on increasing the number of marine species whether threatened or otherwise, understand the eco-system better and monitor the marine species.
He said J-Biotech is in the process of conducting talks with several parties, such as the State Economic Planning Unit and private corporations on the development of the eco-marine centre.
Yesterday, the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar launched a seahorse sanctuary and hatchery in Sungai Pulai Ramsar site.
The sanctuary located in a 14.86 square metre area, was jointly developed by J-Biotech and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu.
The project received support from Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd as part of the company's corporate social responsibility in conservation research and marine ecosystem development.
Sultan Ibrahim launched the seahorse sanctuary by releasing 200 seahorses into the area, which earned a mention in the Malaysia Book of Records.
Johor waters are home to three out of the eight seahorse species found in Malaysia.