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Semporna Strait to become Malaysia’s best macro diving site

THE STAR – Tourism players are conducting a vigorous campaign to turn Sabah’s Semporna Strait into the best macro diving site in Malaysia.

Macro diving involves using special lenses to capture images of tiny underwater creatures.
Semporna Tourism Association president Jamilah Ang said it was promoting the location to attract domestic as well as international divers.

“We have made a short documentary video for marketing purposes as well as to introduce night scuba diving activities.

This video will be (part of) promotional material during the Malaysian International Dive Expo (MIDE) happening at the Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre (WTC) from May 27 to 29.

“With the variety of products here, we are hoping tourism operators will be able to generate more income.

A diver photographs a coral. PHOTO: THE STAR

“The macro diving and night diving activities hopefully will also turn Semporna Strait into the main destination for divers from within and outside the country,” she added in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, underwater videographer Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar said Malaysia needs to have its own macro diving site to compete with neighbouring countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, that are known for the Lembeh and Anilao sites as being among the world’s best for macro under-water photography.

“Semporna Strait is an area rich with tiny marine life and the diversity of such species would be able to attract more divers, making us more competitive,” he added.

He noted that two new marine species were discovered there in 2018, and received status recognition this year with the cooperation of the Marine Ecosystem Study Centre of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

“At the same time, we hope more local youth would learn and sharpen their skills in this activity.

“Just like bird watching, tourists are always encouraged to be assigned a guide to identify the species in an area.

“The same can be done for macro diving activities, where skills to identify marine life as small as 5mm underwater at night could bring in good pay,” he added.

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