GELANG PATAH, Nov 4, 2015:
The Johor Biotechnology and Biodiversity Corporation (J-Biotech) will spearhead the state’s Bio-Diversity Masterplan for Johor to play a bigger role in placing importance on its ecosystem.
The masterplan, that will also address current concerns about endangered wildlife, will be put into operation by next year with the approval of the Johor government.
J-Biotech chief executive officer Wan Amir-Jeffery Wan Abdul Majid said the masterplan, upon approval, was expected to take two years to be completed.
“We will lead with the masterplan and it will first look into pressing concerns over seahorses and dugongs in the state,” he said at a media conference today.
Wan Amir said the masterplan was still in the planning stage and would fulfill the mandate that J-Biotech had in raising awareness, promoting conservationism as well as upgrading the rehabilitation technology and breeding of endangered species.
“The Bio-Diversity Masterplan will also include allocation for an eco-marine research centre in Johor.
“This is a big step for us and we are still looking at establishing it in an existing facility in Pulau Sibu (in Mersing) or the Forest City area (in Gelang Patah), where it will hopefully be a hub or convergence point for future research,” he said at the Southern Region Marine Department headquarters here.
Wan Amir Said this after the “Seahorses: Heritage From Pristine Johor Straits” book launch and release of seahorses in Sungai Pulai here today.
Earlier, the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar officiated the event and also released a batch of seahorses into the Sungai Pulai estuary for conservation.
The ruler was accompanied by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and senior state government officers.
Also present was Forest City Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd executive director Datuk Md Othman Yusof and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar.
The event was part of the seahorse conservation project undertaken by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu here since 2008.
Seahorses, currently on the endangered list, are regarded as being directly threatened by human exploitation for medicinal and live aquarium trades.
There are a total of 32 known seahorse species in the world today. Of this, eight species are found in Malaysian waters, with three distinctly found in Johor.
The seahorses in Johor comprise Hippocampus kuda, Hippocampus trimaculatus and Hippocampus spinossismus.