Close this search box.

Malaysia Ocean Heroes


Malaysia Ocean Heroes
Photo Credit: Lang Tengah Turtle Watch

Malaysia Ocean Heroes are dedicated to preserving the Oceans

Malaysia Ocean Heroes

Across Malaysia there are many dive resorts running marine conservation projects, protecting, conserving, and advocating for the country’s biodiverse marine environment that divers love so much.

Like many places in the world, Malaysian resorts are battling plastic pollution, overfishing and the degradation of coral reefs. So, it’s wonderful to see so many programs addressing these problems in Malaysia.

Tanjong Jara Resort, Terangganu

Ocean 1
Lang Tengah Turtle Watch

The Lang Tengah Turtle Watch at Tanjong Jara Resort, supported by YTL Hotels Tanjong Jara Resort was founded in 2016, to help ensure that the new generations of turtles make it out to sea. Guests of the resort can join at the hatchery for interactive, educational programmes and, if fortunate, witness a release of hatchlings.  

Lang Tengah Turtle Watch at Tanjong Jara Resort has also organised beach clean ups with help from local schools and community along the 3.2km stretch of coastline fronting Tanjong Jara Resort. Volunteers can join organisers at their other project site — based on Lang Tengah Island — to guard turtle nests and protect them from poachers. Volunteers pay around US$240 per week to participate, which covers accommodation, food, project training and a few other leisure activities.

Gaya Island Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 

Malaysia Ocean Heroes

Gaya Island Resort has a marine biologist and a naturalist onsite, who are both working tirelessly to ensure the conservation of local wildlife in and around the resort, working in conjunction with the Sabah Wildlife Department. The resort has developed a program to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles back into the ocean, providing turtles with a safe environment to recover and be treated by the founder and executive director of the non-profit Marine Research Foundation, Nicholas Pilcher.

The marine centre’s coral nursery was created in conjunction with Reef Check Malaysia to rehabilitate and safeguard the reef in the Marine Park that surrounds Gaya Island. The team collects broken or non-viable coral fragments, attaches them to coral blocks or artificial reef structures and takes them to the nursery where they can be monitored as they recover and grow. Once the coral has recovered, the team replant them in the Marine Park to assimilate with the healthy coral.

Malaysia Ocean Heroes

Scuba Junkie Dive Resort, Mabul Island and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Scuba Junkie has two eco-resorts in Malaysia, in Kota Kinabalu and on Mabul Island, with three more in Indonesia. These all provide funding for the company’s dedicated conservation arm: Scuba Junkie SEAS.

Scuba Junkie SEAS has set up many projects in Sabah, including turtle & shark conservation, coral reef restoration, projects tackling marine debris, community outreach and education, and the resort itself is built sustainably to be as eco-friendly as possible. The organisation’s work is divided into six major programs: eco-resort, shark conservation, turtle conservation, coral conservation, marine debris and outreach activities.

On Mabul Island, the resort runs Mabul Turtle Hatchery, which since 2011 has released over 17,000 hatchlings, and Mabul Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, which cares for injured turtles in collaboration with Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and since 2015 has successfully re-released 15 turtles after recovering from various injuries and illness.

The resort also provides waste management for the stateless Bajau Laut (sea gypsy) community next door and pays a reward for the discovery of a turtle nest so that it can be re-located to the safety of their hatchery.

Malaysia Ocean Heroes

Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC): Pom Pom Island, Sabah

TRACC has several ongoing marine conservation projects that help coral reefs recover from human impacts including plastic pollution and blast fishing, that divers are invited to contribute to. The organisation also has programs that address invasive Crown of Thorn Sea stars, as well as monitoring turtle populations and protecting turtle nests from poachers.

The main challenge to coral growth on Pom Pom Island is the coral rubble left behind by blast fishing, which baby corals have difficulty attaching themselves to, so the project’s aim to stabilise the slope, build new reef as well as grow new coral. The sloping rubble is stabilised with soft coral nets, which slows the rubble movement and which the turtles do not destroy. They then plant soft corals and sponges on the nets to hold the rubble together.

Malaysia Ocean Heroes
Ocean 2
Lang Tengah Turtle Watch

Malaysia’s Marine Conservation Organisations

As well as the good work done by Malaysia’s dive resorts, there are several NGOs and government-funded organisations helping to conserve the country’s marine environment.

Reef Guardian is a non-profit company appointed by the State Government of Sabah to manage Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA).

Kudat Turtle Conservation Society is working to conserve and improve Kudat (Sabah) turtle populations through public education and awareness programs.

The Marine Research Foundation is a research and conservation organisation based in Sabah established to improve understanding of marine ecosystems and their associated diverse flora and fauna, managing several projects researching coral reef and seagrass ecosystems, turtles, dugongs, sharks, and rays.

Reef Check Malaysia is working towards sustainable management of coral reefs in Malaysia. We bring together stakeholders to collaborate on coral reef monitoring, management, research and conservation, and advocacy.

Ocean Quest. Founded in Malaysia in 2010 by Anuar Abdullah, Ocean Quest Global is an environmental organisation at work in seven countries through Southeast Asia focussing on coral restoration. With support from Sea Shepherd, Ocean Quest runs workshops and training courses in Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Gelok and Pulau Tioman.

Feature Photo Credit: Lang Tengah Turtle Watch

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Get a weekly roundup of all Scuba Diver news and articles
We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.
Picture of Adrian Stacey
Adrian Stacey
Scuba Diver ANZ Editor, Adrian Stacey, first learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef over 24 years ago. Since then he has worked as a dive instructor and underwater photographer in various locations around the world including, Egypt, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Saba. He has now settled in Australia, back to where his love of diving first began.
Latest Stories
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x