Malaysian Nature Society members can attest to cases of sharks being finned

Victoria Brown The Star 17 Aug 13;

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) members can attest to cases of sharks being finned alive off the waters of Sabah and Terengganu.

MNS's head of communications, Andrew Sebastian, said they have pictorial evidence showing finned sharks that were still alive off Pulau Mabul in Sabah.

They have also collected pictures showing sharks that were left to die in fishing nets off Pulau Redang in Terengganu.

“Although startling, MNS is not surprised by the important report coming from a highly reliable organisation,” said Sebastian when commenting on a Star Online report about Malaysia playing a large part in the global shark trade.

He said that MNS has initiated and supported anti-shark fin campaigns since 2004.

“We have been concerned with this issue from both the international and local scene,” he added.

Sebastian feels that although Malaysia has good laws to tackle the shark trade, what is lacking are the enforcement and implementation of plans and strategies to act against shark hunters.

He added that other than starting awareness programmes for the public and the fishing communities, a national plan of action on the shark trade should be implemented.

“As a nation, we should not only praise Sabah for their leadership in anti-shark's finning and hunting, but also take immediate steps to apply this as a national program,” he said.

Sebastian said the MNS would continue to raise awareness on shark finning and plans to continue working with the relevant government bodies and concerned groups to reach a long-term solution.

Meanwhile, Netizens expressed their outrage over the big role Malaysia plays in the global trade of sharks, with many saying that the practice of shark finning should be banned in Malaysia.

Twitter user @JonyHuan said: “Ban sharks fin! It's no longer something to be taken lightly. If the sharks are gone, it will destroy the ocean's ecosystem.”

Facebook user John Yeow agrees, he says: “Ban it. It’s so cruel.”

@JoanneYepTeeWey said that people should stop eating shark fin and “heavy punishments” should be carried out on shark hunters.

@harris_z suggested that hotels and restaurants should ban shark fin soup from being served.

“Follow what Thailand did. Ban sharks fin from being served at all 5-star hotels. Need private sectors cooperation too,” said @harris_z.

He also adds that Malaysia should educate the public on the consequences of shark finning.

Facebook user Imran Rahim suggested eating a vegetarian version of sharks fin soup instead.

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