2012 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner: Best in Protection of Natural Areas and Wildlife Conservation
Scuba Junkie has made the clear connection between business and nature and is doing lots to protect the environment of which their diving resort depends on. Their resort is based on Mabul, a beautiful island off Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, just a short boat ride away from any diver’s ‘big one’, Sipadan.
Scuba Junkie is often described as the ‘lifeline’ for its home island and is at the forefront of many local schemes to clean up Mabul, protect endangered marine species and educate others. Aside from the whole heap of great initiatives Scuba Junkie are engaged with, they’re an exemplar business when it comes to working with the local community too.
Why Wild Asia loved this Winner
Our favourite concept!
Waste Management – In 2011, Scuba Junkie donated $70,000 towards rubbish removal from Mabul. The resort coordinates an island rubbish collection service: free biodegradable bags are provided for local community, once full, these can be dropped off at the resort and a boat collects four times per week and takes to a recycling plant on the mainland managed by a Governmental Body. This is preventing locals to dump waste into the sea, as previously done. They have also sponsored and introduced the only street bins in Mabul (150) and provided the local council with skips (10). They also coordinate weekly beach and reef cleans.
- Shark Conservation – Spearheading the Semporna Shark Sanctuary as Advisor to the Proposal, they have contributed 70,000RM this year towards the campaign. The goal is to gazette a protected area in Semporna seas for endangered sharks and lobby against shark finning. Within Semporna, they employ a member of staff to monitor the sales of shark products at the local wet market. They have also recently funded an expert to deliver a study on the Economic Value of Sharks in Sabah
- Education – Scuba Junkie supports the island’s School of Hope, a centre providing educational opportunities for sea gypsy children who cannot attend state school. They are engaging them with English classes and environmental education. These children are also actively engaged in events such as Mabul Marine Week which bring the community together. Furthermore, the resort’s Shark and Environmental Officer delivers weekly presentations to guests on turtle and shark conservation in the local area
- Environment – Buildings have been designed to prevent light and noise pollution and the resort has a Green Grade A sewage treatment plant which is soon to be upgraded to include irrigation into the ground
- Sustainable Seafood – No seafood is served onsite as local methods are not sustainable. A bold statement for an island tourism business where fish is often demanded, but very responsible and admirable
- Turtle Conservation – The resort runs and manages the islands only turtle hatchery which is managed by trained biologists and supervised by Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Parks. To reduce unethical turtle egg collecting, they have introduced an excellent incentive by paying locals 10RM per egg (10x market value). These eggs are collected and added to the Turtle Hatchery project to be safeguarded. In the past year, they have contributed 25,000RM to the hatchery project
What did the Judges have to say?
“Most impressive is that they limit themselves voluntarily in areas where they could make profit, such as limiting the number of boat trips, don’t sell seafood, restrict buildings etc”
“An impressive list of green credentials”