Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) received Cabinet in March 2003 under Parks Enactment 1984. Formally established on 19 May 2016, the Park safeguard globally important marine ecosystems that are threatened with overexploitation. Spanning a marine area of 898,762.76 hectares (ha) across three districts (i.e. Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas). TMP is the largest multiuse marine protected area in Malaysia and one of the richest marine flora and fauna complexes in the world. TMP vision is to maintain the integrity of the globally significant marine biodiversity in the TMP and ensure the rich marine resources exist and support the community and are used in sustainable manner. To realise its vision, TMP will strive to deliver three priority goals, namely:
TMP also provides asource of livelihoods over 80,000 coastal inhabitants of diverse ethnic groups. These unigue demographic formed the rich cultural heritage of the proposed park. The concept for the park is to be a multiple use, managed area which includes areas for strict protection, tourism, artisanal fishing and commercial fishing among others. A multi-stakeholder group made up of government agencies led by Sabah Parks, Sabah Fisheries Department, University Malaysia Sabah and the Land and Survey Department, NGOs including WWF-Malaysia and the local communities have been working to realise the gazettement of TMP.
Under the Coral Triangle Initiative led by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), TMP is recognised as an important area for the implementation of its objectives for the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM), adopting protected areas as one of the EAFM implementation tools.
The zoning process of TMP has been developed over a period of 7 years through multiple consultations with TMP stakeholders. Four main zones have been defined for TMP with different purposes namely: