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East coast of peninsular Malaysia
Ibrahim, Z.Z.; Arshad, A.; Chong, L.S.; Bujang, J.S.; Theem, L.A.; Abdullah, N.M.R.; Marghany, M.M. (2000). East coast of peninsular Malaysia, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. pp. 345-359
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 920 pp., more

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Document type: Review


Authors  Top 
  • Ibrahim, Z.Z.
  • Arshad, A.
  • Chong, L.S.
  • Bujang, J.S.
  • Theem, L.A.
  • Abdullah, N.M.R.
  • Marghany, M.M.

    East Coast Peninsular Malaysia borders the South China Sea and faces the continental shelf of the Sunda Platform. Its climate is dominated by the ITCZ which moves through the area in a seasonal cycle, bringing the Northeast Monsoon between November and March and the Southwest Monsoon between May and September. Annual rainfall is greater than 300 cm on the coast and 250 cm on the islands. The nearshore area is dominated by material transported by rivers and by wave interaction in an environment with low tidal range. The whole length of the coast is lined with a series of beach ridges extending up to 12 km inland. Rocky headlands, and rock exposures provide greater productivity. There are numerous estuaries, most of which have good water quality. All estuaries and many lagoons have mangrove vegetation along their banks, and extensive examples have been gazetted as Mangrove Forest Reserves. Soft substrates in relatively sheltered lagoons, bays, and mangroves of Kelantan and Terengganu also support seagrass communities, which are also found in association with fringing coral reefs which occur around the islands. The beaches also attract several migratory shore birds. Offshore investigations have mainly been carried out for fisheries purposes. Nutrient levels are low. Human populations are fairly low and dispersed, especially in the south where the terrain is rugged. Almost all of the fishing on the East Coast is artisanal though there is a more organized deep-sea fishing. Generally 80 to 90% of the fishermen are coastal and use traditional gear, though this is now mostly motorised. The greatest impact of agriculture is the change in the catchment land use to oil palm, rubber plantation or silviculture. The rate of mangrove destruction is quite alarming. Sections of the coastline suffer from erosion or coastal change, and among measures taken to overcome erosion and river mouth sedimentati~n problems are beach nourishment, shore armouring, and the construction of breakwaters and jetties. The discovery of oil on the continental shelf has led to an increase in oil pollution and tar-balls, and there also appears to be some seepage of oil from the sea floor. Problems of the coastal area have been recognised since the early 1970s when the rapid expansion of the fishing industry on the west coast and other factors led to a sudden drop in catch. The main problems identified were overfishing and the reduction in habitats supporting the resources. The creation of Marine Parks for many of the coral reefs has greatly reduced destructive practices which previously affected them, and two main initiatives instituted in the 1980s resulted in a Fisheries Act and a coastal erosion survey. Since then the Government has also strengthened regional ties for the investigation and management of the seas in this region.

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