Rakhine coast undergoing joint wildlife assessment
A PETROLEUM company and an NGO are teaming up to survey sea grasses, seabirds and coral reefs along the Rakhine coastline.
The Mawdin Coast Marine Survey, which began in December 2015 and will be completed in November, is a collaboration between Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and Woodside Energy Ltd.
The survey is the first step toward preserving the coastline from Gwa township in Rakhine State to Mawdin in the Ayeyarwady delta. FFI officials say they have a plan to extend the survey area along the coast but they declined to give further details.
Woodside is the financial backer, with FFI providing technology, facilities and surveyors, said FFI marine coordinator U Zau Lunn. It will also offer training to Pathein University students.
“We’ve found the coral reefs are still very good … I really didn’t expect it,” said U Zau Lunn.
The coral reefs are mostly damaged by the fisheries industry, he said.
“Habitats like coral reefs are very important for marine species,” he said, “and if you want to keep the species, just keep the habitats.”
Daw Cherry Aung, head of the Marine Science Department at Pathein University, said they plan to collaborate with FFI in surveying the marine biodiversity of the coast but that will not happen until October.
“FFI has been leading survey trainings about coral reefs, seabirds, sea grasses and diving since late 2015,” she said. “Pathein University has not yet done any surveys with FFI.”
Woodside is Australian’s second-largest oil and petroleum firm. In Myanmar, it operates two blocks solo and another four jointly with other companies.
Dump trucks park at Ngapali Beach, Rakhine State, where development has sparked environmental concerns.