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The Pulau Payar Marine Park is a treasurehouse of marine wealth. Its four islands are blessed with clear-water coral reefs. The Park has also been provided with other tourist facilities and attractions that delight nature-lovers, sightseers, sunbathers and snorkellers.

The Park obviously fulfils the cherished role of conserving the marine wealth of the area - all fishing activity within two nautical miles of the park is banned. Malaysia plays a pioneering role in the Bay of Bengal region in the use of marine parks for resource conservation. All its activities concerning the Park are therefore being watched with interest throughout the region.

The Marine Park came into being in 1989. It has spurred a 5,000% increase in visitors to the area over a period of seven years. The reefs therefore face increasing pressure from tourism development and related activities. How to sustain tourism development and maintain "visitor satisfaction" without endangering the Park's ecological environment is a matter of concern to the authorities.

This report reflects the concerns from growing use pressure. It is based on a coral reef survey and a land-based survey. It documents the rationale, results and recommendations of both surveys. The report says that a two-pronged approach is needed to manage the park - a strategy for the park itself, and a strategy for sustainable tourism. It also says that the management strategy for Pulau Payar Marine Park should be integrated with the overall planning and management of Pulau Langkawi.

In sum, we find this document to be very useful - both informative and thought-provoking. We are sure it will lead to action that makes the park an even more valuable resource than it is now.

Kee-Chai CHONG
Programme Coordinator, BOBP

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