Save Malaysia's sea turtles!

Olive Ridley sea turtle A rare sight: an Olive Ridley sea turtle (© Nature Picture Library/Alamy)

A proposed land reclamation project and sand mining in Malaysia threaten a nesting ground of vulnerable Olive Ridley turtles and a marine biodiversity hotspot. The projects would also endanger the livelihoods of artisan fishermen in Penang and Perak. Please sign our petition to the Prime Minister of Malaysia!

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To: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Save the Olive Ridley turtles and protect the livelihoods of artisanal fishermen! Save the Malaysian coastal environment and reject land reclamation!

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Gertak Sanggul is a vital landing site in the Malaysian state of Penang for the Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), which migrates thousands of kilometers around the Indian Ocean between its feeding and nesting sites. It is the smallest and most rarely sighted marine turtle in Malaysian waters and listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.

The pristine beaches of Gertak Sanggul and Teluk Kumbar stretch about 15 km along the south of Penang island. The rich fishery in this shallow seabed extends from the coastline to an uninhabited islet, Pulau Kendi, 3.3 km out in the Straits of Malacca. Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins and Indo-Pacific finless porpoises can be sighted here. Live coral, small shipwrecks and artificial reefs combine to create a rich spawning ground at Pulau Kendi, which has the potential to be turned into a national park.

This marine biodiversity hotspot would be destroyed by the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project to create three artificial islands for the development of condominiums. The lack of public consultation and availability of detailed information is shocking in view of the project's scale: 1,821 hectares (4,500 acres or 7 square miles). The project is expected to generate 3.2 million tons of carbon emissions annually.

If realized, the project will impact the livelihoods of 4,817 Penang artisan fishermen who have been fishing sustainably for generations. Another 6,080 fishermen in neighboring Perak state would be affected by massive sand mining for the project. Sand mining would also threaten Perak's marine biodiversity and the endangered green turtle (Chelonia mydas; Malay name, Penyu Agar) landings on Pasir Panjang beach along the fragile Segari coastal ecosystem.

Please sign our petition, which is supported by more than 45 Malaysian organizations.

Letter

To: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

The Malaysian government is proposing to create three massive islands covering 4,500 acres (7 square miles) off Permatang Damar Laut on the southern coast of Penang island. This island reclamation is meant for resort-type development and is not prompted by land shortage. The lack of public consultation and unavailability of detailed information about the project is shocking in view of the size of the proposed reclamation.

The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project area is the playground of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin and the Indo-Pacific finless porpoise. The coastal environment of Permatang Damar Laut, Gertak Sanggul and Teluk Kumbar would be wrecked by reclamation and associated pollution, and Penang’s pristine southern beaches would be ruined.

Contamination is likely to reach the coral-rich Pulau Kendi. Marine biodiversity for miles around will be impacted and depleted. Penang is blessed with hills, seas and UNESCO-listed George Town, but we are now at a crossroads.

Sustainable development strategies that are financially prudent and socially inclusive will bring strong economic growth. We have a responsibility to leave a better planet for present and future generations!

We call on you to save our fishermen! Save our coastal environment! Reject reclamation!

Yours faithfully,

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