KOTA KINABALU: An environmental NGO wants an immediate halt to shark hunting in Sabah to enable a detailed study on the remaining population of the marine creatures in the waters off the state.
The Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA) said a one-year moratorium on shark hunting would also be in line with the Sabah government’s call for a ban in 2012.
“There is an urgent need to strengthen shark protection under Malaysian conservation and fisheries laws,” SSPA chairman Aderick Chong said following reports of two British tourists spotting sharks being landed near the diving haven of Pulau Mabul in Sabah’s east coast.
“Given the absolute importance of sharks to Sabah’s marine ecosystem and their significant value to tourism, allowing shark hunting will be nothing more than extreme recklessness,” he added.
He said a scientific study of marine creatures in the Semporna region by the Australian Institute of Marine Science a few years ago valued a single living shark at US$815,000 to Sabah in terms of tourism revenue, compared to US$100 for its fins.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that the state government would continue to pursue the ban through amendments to the Fisheries Act.