Malaysia: Shark hunting will not stop without law against practice -- Masidi

The Star 19 Jul 16;

KOTA KINABALU: It is not possible to stop the killing of sharks for their fins as there is no law prohibiting hunting of the marine creature here, says Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said because of this, photographs of sharks supposedly being hunted and finned in Sabah's east coast would continue to surface.

He said this after photographs of nearly a dozen finned sharks were spread on Facebook and WhatsApp, supposedly taken on July 16 at a village on Mabul Island, near Semporna.

Asked if state authorities were aware of killing of sharks at the island, Masidi said; "What difference does it make when there is no law against it – the Fisheries Act?"

This was not the first time photographs of shark finning at Mabul Island have surfaced.

The Sabah government has been unsuccessful in getting the Federal Government to amend the Fisheries Act to include a ban on shark hunting – even in state waters.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek had said that the Sabah government's request for a ban on shark hunting and finning in Sabah was unnecessary.

The state subsequently said it would designate marine parks around the state as shark sanctuaries, where hunting of such marine creatures was banned.

The Sabah Shark Protection Association here said a law banning shark hunting was just as important as having sanctuaries.

Its chairman Aderick Chong said without such laws, shark hunting would continue. Malaysia is currently the world's ninth largest shark producer.

Conservation organisation Traffic reported that more than 231 tonnes of sharks were caught in Malaysia between from 2002 to 2011, accounting for 2.9% of the total globally-reported shark catch.

He said fisheries statistics also showed a decreasing amount of sharks being caught each year since 2003, indicating a decline in its population.

Sabah govt’s hands tied over slaughter of sharks as cruel practice is not banned
RUBEN SARIO and STEPHANIE LEE The Star 20 Jul 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Horrific photographs of sharks being hunted and finned in Sabah’s dive paradise will continue to crop up on social media unless there are laws banning the practice.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said without such laws the slaughter would continue.

He said this when asked about the photographs of nearly a dozen finned sharks posted on Facebook and WhatsApp, said to have been taken at a village in the diving haven of Pulau Mabul near Semporna on July 16.

The pictures showed carcasses of sharks floating in the bloodied sea.

Asked if state authorities were aware of the killing, Masidi said: “What difference does it make when there is no law against it?”

Pressed further if anything could be done to curb such activities, which were viewed in horror by environmentalists and tourists, he said: “What do you suggest in the absence of laws against it?”

Yesterday was not the first time such photographs at Mabul, which is next to the world-class diving spot Pulau Sipadan, have been highlighted.

The Sabah government has been unsuccessful in getting the Federal Government to amend the Fisheries Act to include a ban against shark hunting – at least in waters off the state.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek had said that the Sabah government’s request for a ban was unnecessary.

The state subsequently said it would designate marine parks in Sabah as shark sanctuaries where hunting was banned.

However, the Sabah Shark Protection Association said such a law was just as important as the setting up of these sanctuaries.

Its chairman Aderick Chong said without such laws, sharks would continue to be hunted in Malaysian waters, making the country the world’s ninth largest producer of shark products.

Conservation group Traffic had reported that over 231 tonnes of sharks were caught in Malaysia between 2002 and 2011, accounting for 2.9% of the total global catch.

He said fishery statistics also showed a decreasing number of sharks being caught each year since 2003, which might indicate a decline in the population.

Sanctuaries 'last resort' to save sharks, says Masidi
BERNAMA New Straits Times 20 Jul 16;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government’s move to declare three marine parks as shark sanctuaries is the ‘last resort’ to prevent further decline of the species.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the government and authorities could not do much to curb shark hunting and finning in Sabah unless and until the Fisheries Act was amended.

“Unless laws are enforced and the state is given more powers to deal with the issue, we will only see unnecessary killing of sharks.

“We can do the next best thing to protect our sharks, by declaring marine parks as shark sanctuaries to make it illegal to catch sharks in these parks,” he told reporters at his ministry’s Raya open house.

The function held on Tuesday night at the Sabah National Culture and Arts Department grounds was attended by the ministry’s workforce and their families.

Yesterday, pictures showing dead sharks with their fins severed believed to be taken from Mabul Island off Semporna were found circulating on the internet.

“The photos we see [on the internet] are what we have been opposing and talking about in the last few years...shark hunting and finning simply cannot continue.

“The state earns around RM300 million from the diving industry every year; most divers come here to observe the sharks,” he said.

According to Masidi, the mechanics of establishing shark sanctuaries in marine parks and implementing relevant laws banning shark hunting were being studied.

“We will be making an announcement about our progress in the near future,” he said.

Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park here, Tun Sakaran marine park in Semporna and Tun Mustapha marine park in Kudat would be formally declared as shark sanctuaries this Sunday. -- Bernama


Laws against shark-hunting and finning necessary, says Masidi
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 19 Jul 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Laws prohibiting shark-hunting and finning are crucial towards the protection of endangered sharks in Sabah, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Masidi was responding on the circulation of pictures of shark-killing at Mabul island, shared in Facebook.

In January, it was reported that a group of tourists and divers had witnessed sharks being finned at the island.

Sabah had last year asked the Federal government to amend the Fisheries Act, specifically on shark protection in Sabah.

The request however was rejected as it was deemed unnecessary.

“With the absence of any law prohibiting shark-finning, what difference does it make?,” Masidi replied in WhatsApp message.

He added that an announcement would be made on the setting up of shark sanctuaries at marine parks soon.

In February, during the ‘My Fin My Life’ campaign here, Masidi said the shark sanctuaries would be set up at more than two million hectares of marine parks including the newly-gazetted Tun Mustapha Park in Kudat, Tunku Abdul Rahman park in Kota Kinabalu, and the Tun Sakaran marine park in Semporna.

Shark species are vital to the diving industry as nature enthusiasts generate revenue of about RM380 million every year.

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