(file pic) The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) placed 1,200 reef balls in the Belawai-Paloh waters and Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park last year to conserve the environment and marine resources.NSTP/KANDAU SIDIEKSLUSIF BH BONGKAR

KUCHING: The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) placed 1,200 reef balls in the Belawai-Paloh waters and Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park last year to conserve the environment and marine resources.

SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said the flagship project was aimed at supporting turtle conservation and marine life protection.

“This year, we have identified an area in Kuala Lawas for the same purpose (reef ball deployment). However, we are still finalising the details,” he said at a media appreciation luncheon.

“It will also contribute to sustainable fish catches for fishermen and improve their livelihoods.

“It can also be promoted as a tourist attraction, particularly for diving and other water and fishing activities.”

Zolkipli said Sarawak had 62 totally protected areas (TPA).

He said 19 were open to the public and attracted more than 600,000 visitors each year.

“Although it is a challenging task to promote national parks and nature reserves as tourist attractions without neglecting conservation initiatives and efforts, SFC is committed to putting in more hard work to balance conservation and tourism development,” he said.

“In conjunction with the Sarawak More to Discover campaign, we will improve and upgrade facilities and services in our TPAs as well as boost publicity to generate awareness of our products and services.”

He said there were five dedicated websites for parks such as Piasau Nature Reserve, Gunung Gading National Park, Bako National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Sanctuary and Niah National Park.

“In line with the digital technology initiative, we are collaborating with the Sarawak Multimedia Authority to enhance Internet connectivity in nine national parks — Bako, Semenggoh, Gunung Gading, Tanjung Datu, Kubah, Matang, Similajau, Niah and Lambir Hills.

“I believe improved connectivity will generate social media exposure and promote our parks globally.”

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