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.