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Saturday August 17, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday August 17, 2013 MYT 8:58:58 AM
by rashvinjeet s. bedi AND victoria brown
As a significant consumer of shark’s fin, Malaysia should discourage the serving of such products.
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia plays a significant role in the global shark trade and was amongst the top 10 importers and exporters from 2000-2009.
It is also a major consumer of shark’s fin, as well as exporter of the commodity to international markets according to a study by wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic that was co-authored by Victoria Mundy-Taylor and Vicki Crook.
According to Traffic’s study entitled “Into the deep: Implementing CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) measures for commercially-valuable sharks and manta rays”, Malaysia imported 6,896 tonnes of shark’s fin (dried, prepared and salted) during the period, the fourth highest importer globally.
It said Malaysia also caught 231,212 tonnes of sharks from 2002 to 2011, the eighth highest globally, accounting for 2.9% of the total global reported shark catch during that period.
The top shark catchers between 2002 and 2011 were Indonesia and India. They are responsible for over 20% of global catches.
Traffic said that while the situation could have changed since the study period was concluded, data covering the 10 years was generally considered a good indication of trends.
It added that as a signatory to the CITES, Malaysia has an obligation to implement measures to ensure the international trade in products of the shark species protected under the convention was both legal and sustainable.
It added that as a significant consumer of shark’s fin, Malaysia should discourage the serving of these products.
Currently, there is no ban on shark trading in Malaysia although Sabah is contemplating banning shark hunting and “finning” under its wildlife conservation laws.
Sabah wants to have the same legal provision to be included in the Fisheries Act 1985.
The draft amendment was submitted to the Federal Government last year.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Nature Society said that while the report was startling, it was not surprised by the finding.
Its head of communications, Andrew Sebastian, said they have pictorial evidence showing finned sharks that were still alive off Pulau Mabul in Sabah and pictures of sharks that were left to die in fishing nets off Pulau Redang in Terengganu.
“We have good laws, but what is lacking is the enforcement and implementation of plans and strategies to act against shark hunters,” he said.
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