Artificial reefs (ARs) in Malaysia are referred to any man-made structures or natural objects placed in marine water body to provide new habitat for fish and other flora and fauna, and at the same time prevent the encroachment of destructive gears such as trawls into protected areas. A total of 215 new ARs sites were established from 2006 – 2019 in Malaysia by the Malaysia Department of Fisheries. There are two main activities in Artificial Reef (ARs) Development Project in 2020 conducted by Institut Sumber Marin Asia Tenggara (ISMAT) as listed below:
- Site selection for ARs deployment for concrete and confiscated vessel
Since 2006, Malaysia government will allocate a budget for building new ARs to be deployed in coastal waters to enhance fishery resources. This new ARs need to be deployed in a precise location with several characteristic such as sandy and hard bottom seabed in order to function well for a long period of time. Artificial Reef that were deployed in a wrong site such as thick muddy seabed will not functioning well as it will sink or embed into the muddy seabed. Hence, site selection is a critical component in determining the success of this project.
- Artificial reef monitoring program by SCUBA diving and fish sampling
Deployed ARs need to be monitored to assess their effectiveness. This indicator can be achieved by observing and collecting data on fish assemblages around the ARs by SCUBA diving and fish sampling to estimate the biomass of fish around the ARs. Despite that, growth of various biofouling, encrusting and sessile organisms also can be a useful indicator of ARs effectiveness as those organisms will served as food source for the fish.
Project Leader : Muhammad Amirullah Al Amin bin Ayob (amin_ayob[at]seafdec.org.my)