Malaysia: NGO aims for effective conservation of sharks by 2030

MUGUNTAN VANAR The Star 3 Jul 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA) has come out with three key strategies focusing on the effective conservation of the species by 2030.

SSPA chairman Aderick Chong said the initiative was necessary as sharks and rays in Sabah's waters are not legally protected and shark landings have increased significantly over the last three decades.

"SSPA members are pooling their expertise to implement the three key strategic activities and the overall goal over the next year is to strengthen the conservation of sharks and rays in Malaysia," he said.

To achieve this, the SSPA will work with relevant government departments to increase the level of legal protection for sharks and rays at various levels and promoting their long-term protection at the national level.

"Law and policy reform will be supported by research, which will include new studies on the market value of these species and whether these landings are from targeted fisheries or by catch.

"Research will also look at the market value for shark and ray related eco-tourism," Chong said.

"Under the awareness focus, the association would organise campaigns that support law and policy reform by engaging targeted audiences – ranging from policy makers to students and fishing communities – about the biological and financial importance of sharks and rays," he said in a statement Monday.

As its strategic activities start to produce results, Chong said that SSPA plans to hold a gathering of decision makers in March next year to agree to a "Vision 2030" and establish a roadmap to ensure the sustainability of sharks and rays in Sabah's waters and beyond.

SSPA comprises Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), Malaysian Nature Society (Sabah branch), Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Scuba Junkie SEAS, Shark Stewards, Scubazoo, Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC) and WWF-Malaysia.

Chong said there was a need for greater transparency by Malaysia in the monitoring of the shark and ray trade, following a recent report that point to Malaysia being an active player in the Southeast Asia region for both shark fin and meat trading.

The Shark and Ray Trade in Singapore report published in May 2017 cites Malaysia as a major trading partner to the island nation.

Malaysia was reported to rank fifth (2005-2007) and sixth (2012-2-14) in a list of destinations for Singapore's shark fin exports by trade quantity.

Malaysia also served as a source of Singapore's shark fin imports.


A ray of hope for sharks
The Star 4 Jul 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Shark protection advocacy groups in Sabah have targeted to meet by March next year to draw up an effective conservation plan for sharks and rays.

Sabah Shark Protection Associa­tion (SSPA) chairman Aderick Chong said decision makers will gather to deliberate on “Vision 2030” next year to establish a roadmap to ensure the sustainability of these marine animals in Sabah’s waters and beyond.

“The roadmap will focus on law and policy reform, research and awareness,” Chong said in a statement.

He said SSPA members were pooling their expertise as shark landings had increased significantly in the last three decades.

Chong said SSPA would work with relevant government departments to increase the level of legal protection for sharks and rays, while promoting their long-term protection at the national level.

“Law and policy reform will be supported by research, which will include new studies on the market value of these species and whether these landings are from targeted fisheries or by catch,” he said.

SSPA comprises Land Empower­ment Animals People, Ma­­lay­sian Nature Society (Sabah branch), Marine Conservation Society, Scuba Junkie SEAS, Shark Stewards, Scubazoo, Tropical Research and Conservation Centre and WWF-Malaysia.

Chong said a recent report by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC and WWF indicated Malaysia was an active player in the South-East Asia region for shark fin and meat trading.

Malaysia also served as a source of Singapore’s shark fin imports, he claimed.

The report, he said, stated that demand for shark and ray products in Singapore was being met by either unsustainable or entirely unknown sources due to current lack of genuine “sustainable shark and ray fisheries systems”, or adequate traceable systems with appropriate trade data recording.

“SSPA believes that the situation is similar in Malaysia at a time when high demand for shark fin continues to be the main driver of unsustainable fishing of sharks globally,” he added.


SSPA calls for laws to protect sharks, stingrays in Sabah waters
The Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA) chairman Aderick Chong said over the last three decades, an increasing number of sharks and stingrays had been caught in Sabah as they were not legally protected. AFP
AVILA GERALDINE New Straits Times 3 Jul 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA) will implement key strategies to ensure the survival of sharks and stingrays in the country, particularly Sabah.

The advocacy group said it will work with relevant governmental departments to strengthen laws to protect various marine species from going extinct.

SSPA chairman Aderick Chong said over the last three decades, an increasing number of sharks and stingrays had been caught in Sabah as they were not legally protected.

He said in response, the group has recently launched an initiative to focus on law and policy reform that will be supported by research.

“This will include new studies on the market value of these species and whether these landings are from targeted fisheries or by catch. Research will also look at the market value for shark and ray-related eco-tourism.

“Our focus on awareness will see us rolling out impactful campaigns that support law and policy reform by engaging audiences about the biological and financial importance for sharks and rays,” he said.

Their target audiences, he said, ranges from policy makers to students and fishing communities.

He said SSPA plans to hold a gathering of decision makers in March 2018 to establish a roadmap to ensure the sustainability of sharks and stingrays in the state’s waters and beyond.

He said Malaysia needed to be transparent in monitoring the trade of shark and stingrays, following a recent report by the World Wildlife Fund and Traffic that the country was an “active player” in the illegal trade.

According to Traffic’s report on Singapore’s shark trade in May 2017, Chong said Malaysia is one of the major trasding partners to Singapore and was ranked fifth (from 2005 to 2007) and sixth (from 2012 to 2014) in the list of destinations for the nation’s shark fin exports by trade quantity.

“The report states the demand for shark and ray products in Singapore is being met by either unsustainable or entirely unknown sources due to current lack of genuine sustainable shark and ray fisheries systems, or adequate traceable systems with appropriate trade data recording.

“SSPA believes that the situation is similar in Malaysia at a time when high demand for shark fin continues to be the main driver of unsustainable fishing of sharks globally,” added Chong.

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