Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ignorant Tourists, Slacking Authorities

Just when I thought it was a happy ending to the shark feeding at Pulau Payar Marine Park Langkawi, an American family I met today reported their experiences there two days ago.

And sadly, the shark feeding is still happening at Pulau Payar. Standing on the jetty, some ignorant tourists were throwing in scrap food from their lunch pack provided by their operators to the blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus). The father of this family was swimming at the area where the food were thrown in. One of the sharks was swimming towards him and luckily it dodged when it saw a huge figure. It was scary enough for that man too. 

A tourist billboard encouraging the public that it is fun to do shark feeding...damn!

When will people ever learn about the impact and the risk of shark feeding? Please read the story on a shark attack incident here: Report on Shark Attack

Where are the marine park officers/staff to ensure the feeding is totally banned?
Apart from the feeding, the family reported having to see two hundred over visitors at the marine park. He commented that it was just too many people for that sort of space and Pulau Payar snorkeling area is not that big. The family was concerned over the tourists stepping on the corals and stirring up the sand or sediments. 

In 1998, Li Ching Lim conducted the carrying capacity assessment of Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi. From the comprehensive report, Ching Lim stated that the carrying capacity concept is not able to produce a "magic number" that can dictate the number of tourists and divers which the marine park can support. As such, a formula was included in the report to act as  guidelines to determine the carrying capacity alongside with proper care and management of the reef.

And has the authorities adhere to the assessment guidelines?

A piece of advice for discerning tourists coming to Langkawi. Please do some homework and select the responsible nature tour operators. If you need to know recommended tour operators, you may leave me your email address on the comment box. Pulau Payar (Payar Island) is the only best snorkeling and diving site for the West Peninsula Malaysia. For it is now spoiled, let us not spoil it further.




  1. Yup..... it's still happening. My guests mentioned that to me as well. ;-(

    1. Thanks for the notice, Mandy.
      I was at East Marine recently and they told me the same thing too. Marine park staff are not bothered with telling people to stop feeding even though the signage is there.

  2. Guess one way is that you have to educate your guests/clients not to support such feeding. But getting tourists to avoid eagle feeding is futile.

    1. Hi JelliButz,
      Thanks for dropping by.
      It is a headache when it comes to mass tourism. There are some operators that adhere to the environmental code of ethnics, but unfortunately, there are many "vultures" out there are just for the $$$, worse when they proclaimed themselves as "eco-friendly".
      As for Pulau Payar marine park, the only operator that does thing ethically is East Marine. I don't recommend people to go for Coral Island and Langkawi Coral, unless they have proven themselves well.


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