Coral Triangle Maps of the Month

The Coral Triangle Maps of the Month is a bi-weekly email running from August-December 2012 that showcases various maps that highlight the diversity and uniqueness of the Coral Triangle region. The maps also show some of the pressing issues that are threatening this very important resource considered the epicenter of the world's marine biodiversity. The maps are generated by the Coral Triangle Atlas team at The WorldFish Center.
   Click map to enlarge

Map 04: Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Malaysia

Marine life at the proposed one-million hectare Tun Mustapha Park in Sabah  Photo: Eric Madeja/WWF-Malaysia

To watch videos of an ongoing marine expedition at a proposed marine protected area in Malaysia, follow the Youtube Channel of the Tun Mustapha Park Expedition  2012 

Marine Protected Areas are not a new concept for Malaysia. With a high concentration of biodiversity and islands supporting 1,687 square kilometers of reefs, Malaysia depends on the economic activity provided by fisheries. In the 1980s, areas around 22 islands were declared prohibited areas and later declared by law as marine parks.

Today, Malaysia's marine protected areas are spread over both Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo, which comprises the states of Sabah and Sarawak. Depending on their location, these MPAs fall under different jurisdictions:  

  • In Peninsular Malaysia, the 42 marine parks are managed by the Marine Park Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. These are mostly islands declared as marine parks
    and comprise both terrestrial and marine components.
  • In Sabah, the five marine parks are under the Sabah Parks Enactment. The first marine park was established in 1974. Other marine protected area is Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA). This is the first private managed marine conservation area in Malaysia managed by Reef Guardian. SIMCA was officially established in 2001 as a Category II conservation area under the IUCN Protected Area.
    The US CTI Support Program is also supporting the establishment of the proposed one million-hectare Tun Mustapha Park which home to endangered marine animals, such as green sea turtles and dugongs making it a strategic area for sustainable ecotourism. It is also source of livelihood for 80,000 coastal inhabitants of diverse ethnic groups. 
  • In Sarawak, three marine parks are gazetted under the National Park and Reserve Ordinance.

These marine parks are not necessarily established just for fisheries conservation; many also target the conservation of biodiversity, such as sea turtles or other vulnerable species.

One of Malaysia's most famous parks is Sipadan, located in Sabah. It is the country's only oceanic island, and it formed over millennia as corals slowly covered an extinct volcano. Located in the Celebes Sea, it marks one of the world's richest spots for marine diversity.  


Due to the multiple jurisdictions that govern Malaysia's marine parks, tracking and updating data are not always easy tasks. If you want to help the Coral Triangle Atlas keep up with the latest status of these marine parks, please contact Annick Cros at [email protected] or ReefBase at [email protected]     

Do you need more maps on the Coral Triangle?

Follow this link to download a high-resolution version of this map from the CT Atlas website
To see more maps, view the CT Atlas Map Gallery online
To generate your own map, check out the CT Atlas interactive map  

Follow these links to see other maps in this series:

Map 01: The Eleven Ecoregions of the Coral Triangle
Map 02: Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle

Map 03: Marine Protected Areas in Indonesia
About the Coral Triangle Atlas

The Coral Triangle Atlas is an online Geographical Information System (GIS) database providing scientists, governments and NGOs with a view of spatial data at the regional scale. This project will improve the efficiency of conservation planning in the region by giving researchers and managers access to biophysical and socioeconomic information in spatially explicit while encouraging them to share their data to complete the gaps, therefore reducing duplicate data collection efforts and providing the most complete and most current data available.

By contributing data to the CT Atlas, NGO partners, governments and managers are helping to strengthen the effectiveness of conservation activities in the Coral Triangle through improved information flow and access to the region's best datasets.

The CT Atlas is supported by USAID's US CTI Support Program through the Coral Triangle Support Partnership. It also works to inform the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries ad Food Security - a multilateral partnership formed in 2007 by the six Coral Triangle countries to address the urgent threats facing the Coral Triangle.

For more information about the CT Atlas and to contribute data, contact: Annick Cros at [email protected] or ReefBase at [email protected] You can also participate in discussions or submit questions to the CT Atlas forum