SEMPORNA: Sabah has the potential to be the leading muck or macro diving site in the nation, the federal tourism and culture ministry says.
Director of the Sabah office of the ministry Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar told FMT Sabah’s potential was high among both domestic and foreign tourists, specifically those keen on macro underwater and videography diving activities.
Despite its potential however, much needs to be done as Sabah was still lagging behind some countries in the region that were offering the same attraction.
“Sabah has far more potential in this diving niche but we are still quite behind neighbouring nations such as Indonesia and the Philippines,’ said Ahmad Zaki.
“These countries have successfully rebranded their diving sites as havens for muck or macro diving.”
Muck diving is a favourite among experienced divers. It is a diving activity over sand, silt or mud (muck) with dead coral, clean man-made garbage and coral patches where small, unusual critters make their homes in.
To promote muck diving, the ministry organised a four-day artificial reef planting activity with the help of some 30 volunteers in Bum Bum Island off Semporna, which concluded Friday.
The project, in cooperation with the Sabah Backpackers Association and diving company ND Divers, involved the planting of artificial reefs in unexplored sites rich with macro marine organisms.
It followed the inaugural project carried out in Mari Mari Island off Sepanggar, near Kota Kinabalu, in April.
“Muck diving is not new in Sabah, however it needs more promotion,” said Ahmad Zaki.
“This niche activity needs more awareness among tourists, so Motac (ministry of tourism and culture) and diving tour operators will work together to give it more focus.
“This is the perfect time to rebrand Sabah as a top macro diving destination in Malaysia and the world.
“This time around, we brought photographers and videographers to record the event to promote Sabah”.