They urge the Federal Government to amend the Fisheries Act and protect sharks by giving greater powers to the state.
PETALING JAYA: Horrifying images of shark finning said to have taken place in Sabah’s Mabul island, near Sipadan island, go to show the utter lack of enforcement by the authorities there.
“The whole world is watching Malaysia, especially Sabah, in terms of shark conservation,” Ecotourism & Conservation Society Malaysia (EcoMy) Chief Executive Officer Andrew Sebastian told FMT when contacted.
The pictures show many sharks in bloodied waters after having their fins removed. Sharks die after their fins are removed as they can’t balance themselves in the water.
The pictures are making the rounds on social media and have infuriated many environmentalists who lament the lack of laws and strong action against fishermen and others involved in this cruel practice.
Sebastian said there had been plenty of talk about amending existing laws to protect sharks, but this agitation seemed to have lost its momentum.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said last year that there was no need to amend the Fisheries Act.
The images were uploaded on Facebook by conservation research group Danau Girang Field Centre. It said the massacre took place specifically at Mabul island, near the Tun Sakaran Marine Park.
The group’s director, Dr Benoit Goossens, expressed outrage on Facebook, urging consumers to stop eating shark fin soup.
“The massacre has to stop! Sharks attract divers from all over the world to Sabah. It is a huge tourism industry, bringing in millions to the state.
“Sabah needs to get its own laws, ban shark killing and finning.”
Another environmentalist, Prof Maketab Mohamed, echoed similar sentiments, pointing out that there was no excuse to delay amendments to existing laws on fisheries.
“As usual, the lack of political will is plaguing conservation and environmental protection.
“Jika hendak seribu daya, tak hendak seribu dalih,” he said, alluding to the government’s lack of initiative to tackle the issue of shark finning.
“Shark conservation should be moved under state protection because the Federal Government does not care.
“When the sharks are fully protected under state law, then enforce it and work with the local community to expand tourism around shark habitats.”
Netizen Greg Asner said this wanton destruction of sharks was completely unacceptable.
“This is supposed to be a place for marine life. It is an emergency for both humans and the environment.”
Another netizen, Jipp Gonolon Augustine, said: “These people don’t know how costly their actions will be to their very own future generations.
“They are the ones who are dependent on the marine ecological system and they will be the ones who are going to regret this the most. These people must be educated.”