Seagrass Transplantation in Kg. Kibagu, Menggatal

Date: 
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Almost 40 staff and members from Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd (SPSB) and Borneo Marine Research Institute
(BMRI) turned up for a two-day seagrass transplanting session held on 22nd to 23rd January 2019 at
Sepanggar Bay waters. A total of 536 seagrass shoots were extracted from Sapanggar Bay for
experimental relocation at the coastal waters of Kampung Kibagu.

The seagrass transplantation exercise was organised by SPSB as a way to preserve Sapanggar Bay’s
marine ecosystem from facing deterioration from external factors. Despite its importance, seagrass
has often received little attention. Seagrass serves as a habitat and protection for marine life. The
grasses offer protection for smaller fish and crustacean species to lay eggs and raise their young. It is
also an important food source for marine life especially for dugongs and manatees that graze on its
leaves.
 
In 2018, SPSB had engaged BMRI to lead a seagrass transplantation program following possible future
development affecting the Sepanggar area. A sum of RM20, 000.00 was presented to BMRI to head
the project which includes seagrass awareness workshops and a year-long monitoring of the success
rate of transplantation.

BMRI will hold further transplanting sessions with various layers of the community such as the
Sapanggar villages as a way to raise awareness of seagrass and appreciation for the ocean. It is also
expected that BMRI may be engaging with local tourist hotels and resorts within its vicinity with the
hopes of bringing more attention to the often unnoticed seagrass.

During the two-day session, unpredictable weather conditions made it challenging for transplanting
activities. Due to the rising tide and rough sea, some 54 seagrass shoots were washed to the shores
of Kg. Kibagu which were later replanted at UMS beach. The follow-up session is expected to take
place during low tidal variations this month (February 2019).