Tourist horrified to find butchered sharks off Mabul

KOTA KINABALU: A foreign tourist who has been diving in Sabah waters multiple times was shocked by the sight of butchered hammerhead sharks recently.

The tourist, Gareth Jones, who recorded the sighting while diving in the famed dive haven of Mabul Island off Semporna district, said he had hoped to end his dive trip with a bang, but instead found distressing images.

"I am shocked at what I have seen at the end of my scuba diving trip in Sabah in Malaysian Borneo," he said via his Facebook page.

"I have been diving in Borneo many times and did not think I would ever see such distressing images of discarded dead sharks just a few miles from Sipadan," he said.

According to Jones, he was not a shark expert but the images clearly showed slaughtered hammerheads in the reefs off Mabul Island.

"Why should tourists travel to see the world-famous Sipadan sharks if they are being hunted to extinction?" he asked.

He urged the public to share his video and to ask for better protection for sharks if they wanted the killing of sharks to stop.

In the video, several pieces of shark heads and part of their upper body were seen strewn on the sea beds.

Hammerhead sharks, though not yet considered totally protected in Sabah, have been proposed to be included in the list of protected marine species in the state.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Christina Liew said she would find out what happened and why the sharks were killed.

Sabah Shark Protection Association Chairman Aderick Chong said the state government needed to come up with a decision on whether to list hammerhead sharks as protected.

"I think we need a clear guideline and law on shark protection," he said, adding that divers from all over the world came to Sabah to dive with sharks.

Sharks are a source of food for some people in Sabah. Apart from their fins, some types of sharks are also used in pickled foodstuff.



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