Authorities are now limiting the number of visitors who get to visit Sipadan each day to 120.
Sabah Parks has put stricter controls on diving at Sipadan island in an effort to better protect the island’s sensitive ecosystem.
The coral reef has degraded slowly over time and the intensity or frequency of diving needs to be retained, Sabah Parks director Maklarin Lakim said in a statement to Malay Mail.
Effective 1 October 2022, one permit will only allow two dives, instead of three, per day. However, divers who have already purchased dive packages and registered with Sabah Parks will still be permitted three dives at Pulau Sipadan, instead of two.
Other restrictions include a maximum of 50 divers per dive site at any one time and there can’t be a repeat of the same dive site.
Each divemaster is allowed to bring up to four divers each and dive periods are between 7am and 4.30pm.
Advanced certification required
Going forward, divers will also have to be certified as Advanced Open Water divers at a minimum.
In addition, diving fees have been increased from RM140 to RM250 per day for Malaysians and RM350 for non-Malaysians per day per individual.