Perhentian marine Research Station
At the end of 2016, the Perhentian Marine Research Station (PMRS) was established when it was handed over by the Blue Temple Conservation, and it is now it is under the social enterprise Fuze Ecoteer. In the past, PMRS was involved in seagrass mapping, assessing the health of coral reefs along with encouraging recycling and waste separation schemes around the island. From 2019 there has been a shift in its focus; PMRS started its Direct Action Conservation scheme by constructing artificial reef for coral reef conservation, and it also focuses on liaising with local stakeholders (dive shops and resorts) to implement waste management initiatives such as jumbo bags and mesh recycling bins for collecting plastics and managing waste around the islands.
PMRS is small scale research station with basic facilities and limited workforce. Therefore, they mainly focus on the practical aspects of marine research and conservation. This also means that they can accommodate a wide range of volunteers who undergo training in marine life identification and underwater survey techniques, prior to the acquisition of data.
Impact Stats in 2019
6 local businesses involved in our Jumbo Bags scheme
42 eco snorkelling briefings given
5 dive seagrass surveys conducted (in its trial phase
A distance of 4,050 metres was surveyed
15 successfully attached fragments with growth rate monitored
25+ ﬁsh species & 6 benthic species identiﬁed -
to create a sustainable Perhentian Islands in partnership with the other FE projects and the local stakeholders.
- To create a baseline of data to continue to monitor the environmental impacts surrounding the islands.
- To preserve the reefs & marine life from tourist impacts, & create awareness to the community & stakeholders so we can eventually become obsolete.
- Assess the eﬀectiveness of artiﬁcial reefs at attracting ﬁsh life.
- Educate tourists to be more sensitive to the marine environment.
- Facilitate recycling and waste separation schemes by resorts & dive centres
Find out more detailed information about
Shark ID Database
Currently, PMRS are not aware of any past or recent studies on the distribution and abundance of shark species in the Perhentian Islands. Blacktip reef sharks are abundant (juveniles and adults) in our waters, but we do not know where the nurseries are, and what other shark species are present around the islands. There are reports of Whale shark sightings, but we do not know where they are going. Hence, we are super keen on using this opportunity to establish our shark database ID to understand the distribution and abundance of shark species around the islands.
PMRS will be compiling our database records of every shark species we observe along with location, sex, size and any observed behaviour, i.e., feeding, swimming, etc.
Local dive shops are also encouraged to get involved in our scheme by taking pictures of sharks and sending it to us for identification and further analysis. Additionally, we hope to share our database with other shark and marine conservation organisations to combine and collate as much information about sharks in Malaysia.
Here you can see a paper produced by the Perhentian Turtle Project Team using the photo ID technique
Sea grass Mapping
Seagrasses play an important role in improving water quality, provide shelter and are also an important food source, especially for sea turtles. Currently, seagrass beds are abundant but fragmented.
In the past, PMRS has mapped most of the seagrass beds around the islands, and also surveyed seagrass habitats using the Seagrass-Watch methodology to monitor abundance and assess their ecological value. PMRS will now focus on understanding the impacts of the monsoon season on the mapped seagrass beds. The size and intensity of the waves increases during the monsoon which can affect the seagrass beds around the island. Therefore, PMRS aims to conduct seagrass surveys before and after the monsoon period and continue to monitor each year.
Additionally, PMRS aim to work closely with the Perhentian Turtle Project (PTP) to measure the abundance, spatial density and diversity of seagrasses around both islands. PMRS will also share any data on the distribution of seas turtles around the seagrass beds to PTP.
Conservation in action
PMRS uses discarded glass bottles to create new substrata to attach coral it is simple yet an effective technique to build artificial reefs. The glass bottles used are collected from bars and resorts around the Perhentian Islands.
Artificial reefs normally use the coral fragments found on the seafloor since they are dismally abundant due to boat strikes and snorkellers damaging the corals. However, PMRS are aiming to start a coral nursery, where fragmented corals (1-2cm) will be tied onto several lines, and once suitable, they will be transplanted onto the artificial reefs.
The first artificial reef, the Amex reef, was constructed in April 2019 and is gradually growing and being used by different species as their home – including goby fish, damselfish, moray eels and even fish eggs during fish identification surveys.
PMRS actively engages with local dive shops and resorts where PMRS gives weekly awareness talks in collaboration with the Perhentian Turtle Project. This educates their guests and customers on marine conservation, plastic pollution issues, and eco-snorkelling and diving practices.
PMRS also aims to involve and persuade the local dive shops to build and maintain artificial reefs and coral nurseries around the islands. This is crucial in achieving our main aim – to restore and preserve our coral reefs – once dive shops start taking responsibility for their dive sites and divers.
Plastic Free Perhentian
In collaboration with the Perhentian Eco-Education Project, PMRS is aiming to reduce the amount of plastic on the Perhentian Islands by collecting and sending the plastic for recycling on the mainland and any type 2 and type 5 plastic being recycled on island utilising the Precious Plastics machine. PMRS along with the other FE projects are campaigning for single use plastics to be banned from the islands. PMRS has initiated
- providing mesh bins and jumbo bags to local dive shops and resorts for collecting plastics, which will be sent to a recycling facility in the mainland.
- Provide jumbo bags with plastics at the local school to be used for upcycling with the Precious Plastic Machine.
- Set up a weekly Conservation Education Station booth at the Panorama Divers to brief snorkelers and divers on eco-friendly practices along with educating the public.
- Organise weekly beach cleanups in collaboration with other FE projects
- Conduct micro-plastic surveys with Portsmouth University.
Support our causes and buy some merchandise
You can support the Fuze Ecoteer projects and supported organisations by buying their merchandise. A minimum of 60% of your fee goes directly towards the conservation cause linked to that product. The other percentage is for production costs.
You can adopt one of our turtles in the Perhentian islands. Through our turtle photo ID database we have identified over 260 turtles that have been seen around the Perhentian Islands. Support our important conservation and adopt today.