IPOH, June 20 — The Perak government is currently looking into the possibility of gazetting Pulau Sembilan, a cluster of islands off the coast of Bagan Datuk famous for its “blue tears” phenomenon, as a marine park.
State executive councillor in charge of tourism, arts and culture Tan Kar Hing said if gazetted, an area measuring a radius of three nautical miles surrounding the islands would be protected.
“This is part of the study being undertaken currently,” he told Malay Mail in a recent interview.
He said the study includes a scrutiny of the islands’ assets, adding that its findings will be would be presented to the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.
“The researchers are studying the blue tears, sea horses and corals around the islands and also the islands themselves,” he said.
He added that researchers found the islands have a potential to be turned into a snorkelling attraction too.
Pulau Sembilan had lured boatloads of tourists keen to catch a sight of a rare type of plankton found along the shoreline that emits a blue glow in the dark and is known as the “blue tears” phenomenon, as well as seahorses and corals in its tropical waters.
The islands had been closed since April 2017 after authorities saw the damage caused by visitors stemming from unregulated tourism and was supposed to reopen last December after a clean-up.
There was one police report filed of encroachment on the islands last year, but no new incidents have been reported.
“This may be because we have beefed up security in the surrounding areas of the islands,” he added.
However, the state decided in April to keep Pulau Sebilan closed indefinitely for researchers to complete their study on the islands’ assets.
Tan said the islands’ reopening now depends on Sultan Nazrin Shah.