KOTA KINABALU: Semporna is known for being the gateway to some of the world's best diving sites, including Mabul Island, but unfortunately, fish bombing activities are threatening the marine ecosystem there.
Semporna Priority Conservation Area team leader Choo Poh Leem said about 86% of the corals in the district were on the verge of destruction due to fish bombing activities.
"Such actions are also leading to extinction of marine life," she said during an awareness programme with parents, teachers and students in Semporna on Friday (Jan 25).
She added that awareness was important to stop this threat and should be instilled among parents and their children.
"We have to keep telling the public that fish bombing activities are illegal and destroy the ecosystem," she said.
On a related matter, Choo said the practice of killing turtles for meat, taking turtle eggs and the commercial sale of turtles was also a huge problem in Semporna.
"Some 300 turtles were recorded to have been killed as of 2017," she said.
Choo said turtle viewing and release of hatchlings were part of tourism activities on offer here, but if the community kept killing them or taking their eggs, there would be no more turtles left to see.
"A person found with one turtle egg can be fined RM50,000 and up to RM250,000," she said.
Choo said enforcement agencies must be more proactive and play greater role in making sure that such activities were stopped.
"Law enforcement is vital to help curb fish bombing," she said.
She added added that they would be working with enforcement agencies to hold a workshop on the issue at the Semporna Fisheries Department office on Feb 26.
Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong, who officiated at the event, reminded the community to be responsible and help protect the environment.
"Our nature is our treasure. Without them, we will not be able to introduce Sabah to the world."Do not exploit what we have. We have to work together to take care of our nature," he added.