Kota Kinabalu, June 14: The highly anticipated Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) Sabah Ocean Partnership Summit is all set to undertake an ambitious endeavor that will capture the world’s attention.
One of the event’s highlights will be the groundbreaking attempt to set a new world record for the longest ghost net cleanup, aptly named “Ghost Net Hunters – 23 Hours” in waters off here.
ADEX Sabah is scheduled to take place from Aug 18 to 20 at the Sabah International Convention Center (SICC), with the ghost net cleanup to be held on Aug 20.
This exceptional initiative falls under the ADEX Sabah corporate social responsibility program, aiming to raise awareness about the urgent need to protect and conserve Sabah’s marine environment.
It will feature two ADEX ambassadors, Hong Kong actress Hidy Yu, and Guinness World Record Swimmer Ben Lecomte.
On Wednesday (June 14), the Sabah Tourism Board, alongside the ADEX Sabah team and government agencies, discussed preparations and logistics assistance for the event.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Environment cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai commended ADEX Sabah’s initiative in recognizing the gravity of ghost net issues.
“The event will not only raise awareness about the threats posed by ghost nets but also inspire greater involvement in initiatives that protect Sabah’s natural resources.
“Through this remarkable feat, we seek to foster a sense of responsibility and empower communities to actively participate in preserving the pristine beauty of Sabah’s marine environment for generations to come,” he said.
Present were SICC chief executive officer Datuk Rosmawait Lasuki, Sabah Parks deputy director Rimi Repin, ADEX Sabah project director Theresa Tham, and representatives from Royal Navy and Marine Department.
Ghost nets, abandoned or lost fishing nets, pose a severe threat to marine life, entangling and endangering numerous species.
The “Ghost Net Hunters – 23 Hours” initiative will bring together a dedicated team of divers who will strive to remove as many ghost nets as possible within a continuous 23-hour period, showcasing their commitment to preserving the marine environment.
Bangkuai also called upon all local dive operators to unite and actively participate in ADEX Sabah, emphasizing the significant benefits it can bring.
“I see ADEX Sabah as not only a platform for marketing but also an opportunity to gain valuable insights into the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the dive industry.
“Local participants can attend seminars, workshops, and presentations by industry experts, which can help them stay updated with the latest developments and improve their services.
“They can learn from successful dive operators and adopt innovative strategies to enhance the overall dive experience in Sabah,” he remarked.
Joniston underscored the importance of unity and collaboration among local dive operators to foster a vibrant and sustainable diving ecosystem in Sabah.
“By supporting ADEX collectively, they can showcase the strength and diversity of Sabah’s dive industry.
“Their participation will contribute not only to the exhibition’s success but also to future collaborations, knowledge sharing, and sustainable practices benefiting the entire dive community in Sabah,” he stated.
ADEX Sabah will also feature international speakers, diving industry experts, and conservationists.
The event will encompass a range of activities and topics, including a mermaid festival, free diving, sustainable marine tourism, and the blue ocean economy to attract the participation of diving enthusiasts, universities, and schoolchildren.
Meanwhile, ADEX Sabah project director Theresa Tham said the event aimed to create awareness to protect and conserve Sabah as a premium dive destination.
“We hope to reach out to all dive professionals, businesses, and enthusiasts to come together and experience this international dive expo.
“There will be a variety of topics of interest covered that complement, enhance, and inspire steps forward in the tourism and diving industry, further improving the industry.
“We can learn from each other through such an event as it will connect us to all relevant government agencies, dive operators, and entrepreneurs to unite as one to work on the conservation of the environment.
“Moreover, ADEX Sabah is a powerful platform to inspire the younger generation, students, and local communities to embrace environmental consciousness in their daily lives.
“The event will expose them to a wide array of career options within the ocean-related industry, offering a glimpse of these opportunities throughout the exposition,” she said.
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