Nestled between Singapore and the southwestern shore of Johor are vast meadows of seagrass that gets revealed only at the very lowest tides. This is a unique environment that is extremely special and vital for local fishermen and seafood lovers. ‘Beting’ is the local word for seagrass meadow – and beting Tg. Kupang in Johor is the longest contiguous seagrass meadow in the whole of Peninsular Malaysia.
Johor also has other seagrass meadows on the east coast, but to see them, you have to take a dive. In the west, it is possible to walk out at low tides to experience all the wonders that the habitat has to offer.
Seagrass meadows are home to countless marine critters. This is where you get to witness sea cucumbers, nudibranchs, sea hares and sea stars of myriad shapes and colours without having to even swim. More importantly, this ecosystem supports the local fishery. Seagrass meadows are where fishes go to breed, feed and find shelter when young. This simply means that if there are no seagrass, there is no more seafood for us to eat! Local fishermen depend on these areas for their daily catch – which includes our usual favourites of flower crab, flathead lobster, prawns and even some bigger fishes which comes into the area to feed.
The seagrass meadow in this part of the Tebrau Straits also supports endangered species such as seahorses and dugongs, as well as hawksbill and green turtles – the natural wonders of the Iskandar Region which is definitely worth exploring. For more information on Kelab Alami and its guided seagrass tours, log on to kelabalami.weebly.com