KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government has gazetted four shark and two ray species as protected, but a conservationist says the move may not be enough.
Sabah Shark Protection Association president Aderick Chong said that while the move was good and timely, there were a lot of uncertainties on its effectiveness.
“I am wondering how the authorities will control what fishermen catch and what traders sell,” he said when contacted.
“How can they enforce this law when many a times, we cannot even identify the species of the shark after its head has been chopped off?” he said.
Chong said it would take more than just routine checks on markets and fishing boats to ensure this gazetting of shark and ray species truly protect the marine creatures.
“Education and awareness programmes are needed not only for the public but fishermen, fishing vessel operators and traders,” he said.
He said the list of sharks –Carcharhinus longimanus (oceanic whitetip shark), Sphyrna zygaena (smooth hammerhead), Sphyrna mokarran (Great Hammerhead), Eusphyra blochii (winghead shark) and rays – Mobula birostris (giant manta rays) and Mobula alfredi (reef manta ray) – were found in Sabah.
The gazette will come into effect on July 17.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), quoting a 2015 research, Malaysia ranked as the world’s ninth largest producer of shark products and third largest importer in volume.