KOTA KINABALU: Following outcry from tourists over shark fins being sold openly along Sinsuran sidewalks, marine conservationists are again pushing for a total ban on shark hunting and finning in Sabah.
Sabah Shark Protection Association conservationist Adderick Chong said that tourists want to see marine diversity in local waters and not along the streets of Kota Kinabalu.
"This cannot go on. Sabah must ban all shark hunting and finning, not just for certain shark species," he said on Wednesday (March 29).
Advocating for overall shark protection, Chong said that it was impossible to identify which species of shark were being sold along the roadside without a proper scientific identification. It could be protected species of sharks but we won't know," he said
Some of the currently protected species are the hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, winghead and oceanic wingtip sharks.
He said the photos of dried shark fins were taken by dismayed tourists on Friday (March 24) and were highlighted to their tour operators.
Also calling on authorities to take action is James Costello, the regional director of dive training agency RAID.
He said was saddened to see the pictures taken by the tourists.
Similarly, Sabah Dive Rangers co-founder Jude Junius said the Sabah government must make a stand against shark hunting and finning to save the underwater ecosystem.
Meanwhile, Borneo Dream Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd owner Billy Hammond said without government support to stop the shark fimning and fish bombing activities, the state's marine tourism industry could be severely affected.
"If nothing is done to stop fishing bombing and shark finning, both action and the sale. I see the end of the marine park, tourism on the horizon," he added.