PORT DICKSON, March 11 — Port Dickson is known for its picturesque beach and pristine scenery and now this famous tourist destination also offers coral reef tourism for visitors with 46 species have been recorded thriving in the area.
To make it even more interesting, some of the coral reef species found here are similar to those in the east coast states and Sabah.
For the uninitiated, these beautiful coral reefs can be found along the Monkey Bay and Blue Lagoon in Tanjung Tuan up till the Lexis Hibiscus in Pasir Panjang, covering a distance of about 4.2 kilometres.
To see these coral reefs, visitors do not need to have snorkeling or scuba diving equipment as they can be spotted not far from the beach.
Negeri Sembilan Fisheries Department director Halimi Abu Hanip said thus far 46 coral reef species have been recorded in the state with five of them are categorised as vulnerable.
Among the coral reefs species located in Port Dickson are Astreopora Myriophthalma; Ctenactis Echinata; Cycloseris Cyclolites; Cyphastrea Chalcidicum; Diploastrea Heliopora; Echinopora Gemmacea; Favites Abdita; Fungia Fungites; Galaxea Astreata; Goniastrea Edwardsi; Goniopora Columna and Leptastrea Purpurea.
“Usually the visitors will prefer snorkeling activities, and some of them are here by themselves while others through a package offered by the hotels … apart from Monkey Bay, the area around the Blue Lagoon is also a great location to see beautiful coral reefs.
“However, visitors are advised not to damage the reefs as it will affect the marine habitat in the surrounding area,” he told Bernama here today.
He said in efforts to boost the reef’s propagation in the area, in October last year, his department had deployed 25 artificial reefs to encourage coral growth and fish collection, costing RM300,000.
“All 25 artificial reefs were placed in four areas namely Blue Lagoon, Monkey Bay, Tanjung Tuan and Pulau Masjid.
“The placement of artificial reefs will encourage the coral reefs growth. We hope it will add to the uniqueness of the area and will be a new attraction for tourists especially those who are interested in snorkeling and scuba diving activities,” he said.
Halimi also said that the area is also ‘lively’ with various marine life including giant trevally (GT) fish (keropoh), coral trout (kerapu pisang) and blacktip shark.
“This area is also a habitat for turtles where there are two species, namely, green turtles and hawksbill sea turtles. These turtles which are commonly spotted along the east coast states are actually landing to lay eggs along the Port Dickson beach.
“Most of the eggs will be collected and hatched at the Port Dickson Ornamental Fish Centre in Teluk Kemang and then released on the beach,” he said.
The area has been gazetted under the Fisheries (Prohibited Areas) Regulations 1994, Fisheries Act 1985, which stipulated that any fishing activities within one nautical mile of the beach is strictly prohibited.
“The gazetting of the area is to protect the very unique coral reefs thriving along the coast. Failure to comply with the regulations, offenders could be fined up to RM20,000 or up to two years in jail or both, upon conviction” he said.