KOTA KINABALU: A foreign tourist diving in Sabah waters was shocked to find butchered hammerhead sharks recently.
Gareth Jones recorded the horrendous sight while diving in the famed dive haven of Mabul Island off Semporna district. He had hoped to end his dive trip with a bang, but instead found distressing images.
“I am shocked with what I saw at the end of my scuba diving trip in Sabah,” he said in his Facebook page.
“I have dived 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.”
Jones said 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, seek protection for sharks and stop killing them.
In the video, several pieces of shark heads and parts of their upper body were seen strewn on the sea bed.
It has been proposed to include hammerhead sharks in the list of protected marine species in Sabah.
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 Asso-ciation chairman Aderick Chong said the state government needed to quickly decide whether to list hammerhead sharks as protected.
“We need a clear guideline and law on shark protection,” he said, adding that divers from all over the world come to Sabah to dive with sharks.
Chong added that the government should implement a general protection for all shark species instead of listing several species because there would be loopholes.
“In the video, we can see shark heads being chopped off to avoid being caught for possibly hunting and killing the protected species,” he said.
Sharks are a source of food for some people in Sabah. Apart from their fins, the meat of some species are used in pickled food.