Tioman is the largest island on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, located 48km from Mersing. The island has an estimated reef area of 14.46 km2.
The island has a population of about 4,000 residents spread across seven villages. The main village is Tekek, which is the island’s administrative and commercial center.
Research conducted by scientists at Universiti Utara Malaysia found that the coral reefs around Tioman Island provides economic value to important industries such as fisheries and tourism and also in terms of coastal protection. They estimated that the reefs in Tioman Island provide a total economic value of RM3.4 billion every year!
Over the last 7 years, Reef Check Malaysia’s surveys recorded that many reefs in Tioman Island are in consistently fair or good condition. This is good news and the challenge is to ensure that more efforts are focused on improving the condition of the reefs. This can be achieved with better protection of the reefs and also by encouraging the local communities to play a bigger role in reef and island management.
In order for Cintai Tioman to achieve its goals, there will be a big need for more on-the-ground efforts to build consensus and ensure cooperation from all stakeholders on the island, particularly villagers, dive and snorkel operators, businesses, State Government and Department of Marine Parks.