Resort dive team arrives ‘jaws’ in time to save shark

Gayana Marine Resort Dive & Recreation team cutting lose a bamboo shark from under a ghost net. - pix courtesy of resort

KOTA KINABALU: An attempt to rid the sea of “ghost nets” – abandoned or lost fishing nets – proved to be a blessing as divers from a resort here managed to rescue a bamboo shark that was found trapped in one of such nets.

Ghost nets pose a hazard to marine life as they are hard to spot.

The divers performing the sweep were from Pulau Gaya’s Gayana Marine Resort’s dive and recreation team, who were taking part in its first ocean clean-up activity last week around the island’s Malohom Bay after discovering ghost nets in the surrounding waters.

“Initially, the purpose of our dive was only to search for new dive sites to bring our guests. But during our recce, we were shocked to find patches of corals covered by nets, ” said the resort’s operations manager, Alfonso Valirianus.

“In the recent initiative, the team managed to rescue a trapped bamboo shark, but another bamboo shark found in the same area was dead by the time we got to it.”

He said some of the living coral fragments entangled in the ghost net were brought back to the resort’s Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) to be replanted.

Also located at Gaya island, MERC was established by the resort in 2007 as part of efforts to promote ocean conservation and awareness.

Visitors to MERC may take part in conservation programmes such as coral replanting and adoption, as well as seagrass planting.

The resort is also looking at introducing underwater clean-up packages to expose the resort’s guests to the effects of unsustainable fishing and careless disposal of single-use plastic items.

“As a resort that thrives on the beauty of the ocean, Gayana Marine Resort is proud to do its share in support of Sabah Parks’ efforts in marine conservation, ” Valirianus said.

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