Under the Resource Enhancement Program, the department is carrying out the Artificial reefs project. This project was started way back in 1982. To date there are more than 130,000 used tyres that are set in various location at sea in Sabah. The main component of work for this project are collecting of tyres, maintaining the project stations, locating suitable site of the reefs, construction and setting of the reef units. The scope of this project has expanded recently to include other type of reef units other that tyres (such as concrete structures). The four main artificifial reef project station in Sabah are located in Kuala Penyu, Papar, Kota Marudu and Sandakan. Funds for the artificial reef project come from both State and Federal yearly allocation.
A continuing underwater survey of artifical reefs shows that where sites were formerly barren and have featureless bottoms will in a short time show increased productivity. The artificial reefs will initially encourage the growth of marine plants and invertebrates, and as times goes by will support a thriving food web. Commercial fishes are aslo found to take initial shelter offered by the artificial reefs but in time the in situ food web will support their preferred habitats therein.
There are four main objective of this project:
- To fully utilise abandoned used tyres which otherwise may cause solid waste pollution;
- To enhance and increase the productivity of a particular sea area though fish habitat improvement;
- To discourage trawlers from encroaching and fishing in the restricted zones; and
- To enhance easily-accessible fishing grounds and thereby increase traditional fishermen's catches and incomes.
Used tyres ready to be constructed into artificial reef units
Concrete artificial fish reef units
Placement of artificial reefs in the sea