Dive instructors, tourism players' help sought in hammerhead massacre case


  • Nation
  • Monday, 06 May 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Dive instructors and tourism players in the world-renowned Mabul and Sipadan Islands off Sabah’s Semporna district will be questioned following a tourist’s discovery of butchered sharks recently.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Christina Liew said they would be asked to shed light on what was actually going on under the sea.

She said the authorities would be asked to help out to establish whether crimes were committed.

“We want to know who killed and discarded the sharks in such a way, and why,” she said.

Liew, however, did not want to comment further, saying she first needed to find out what was actually going.

The matter came to light after a foreign tourist, Gareth Jones, recorded a video clip of butchered hammerhead sharks while diving off Mabul.

He said he had been to Mabul many times to enjoy the beautiful reefs and marine creatures.

“To see such a sight was very shocking for me and my dive buddies,” he said when contacted via Facebook.

Jones said sharks like the hammerheads were a huge tourist attraction, especially for divers like himself.

Sabah Shark Protection Association chairman Aderick Chong says he suspected sharks were targeted and being hunted for their fins in these islands.

"I think those responsible for the killings deliberately cut off the sharks’ heads to avoid identification of the species, even if they were caught for selling parts of the sharks,” he said.

Hammerhead sharks have been proposed to be listed as protected but it is unclear how the implementation process was going.

Efforts are being made to contact the Sabah Fisheries Department director Dr Ahemad Sade for clarification.


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