Shark Killing is Unacceptable
WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO, Dato’ Dionysius Sharma, reiterates the urgent call for shark protection in response to the spate of shark carcass photos surfacing on Facebook and social media. Taken by tourists who were on Pulau Mabul, the gruesome photos triggered distressing comments and requests for action to be taken.
“Shark killing for any purpose is completely unacceptable and needs to stop immediately. Most shark species are endangered and we cannot afford to lose any more of the remaining sharks in our seas,” stressed Dato’ Dr Sharma.
Whether a shark is finned or has its entire body taken for various purposes (such as for the skin, meat or teeth), it still means the shark is killed. The marine ecosystem needs sharks alive and serving their function as top predators. We want sharks alive to ensure a balance in the marine ecosystem in order for us to continue to have a healthy supply of seafood; and to protect sustainable livelihoods for the fishing communities.
WWF-Malaysia supports Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment (MTCE) YB Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun’s call for laws to prohibit shark hunting and finning (Laws against shark-hunting necessary, Daily Express, 21 July).
Sustaining sharks will sustain our ocean and in turn sustain seafood, as they help maintain the health of coral reefs and protect vital sea habitats. As seafood is one of Malaysian’s main protein sources, the decline of sharks will inevitably affect human survival in the long run.
Sharks are also a valuable natural capital which services the eco-tourism industry in Sabah. In line with the increasing recognition of the value of natural capital and ecosystems services amongst policy makers in Malaysia, as reflected in the 11th Malaysia Plan, it is only timely that relevant action is taken in line with these advances by the respective Ministries and Agencies through policies, legislation, enforcement, monitoring and other measures.
Sharks with the exception of whale sharks have long suffered the perils of being in a limbo under the legislative framework of Malaysia where it is given almost no recognition. As there are no officially recognised shark fisheries in Malaysia, there is a noticeable absence of laws protecting, managing or conserving sharks in Malaysia. However, sharks continue to be fished either in mixed fisheries, or incidentally and this is allowed.
“We need more proactive rather than reactive measures in managing and conserving sharks in Malaysia. We need to continuously improve our understanding of such natural capital and ecosystems and ensure policy and laws take these into consideration,” said Dato’ Dr Sharma.
WWF-Malaysia thus calls for the nationwide adoption of the ecosystems approach to fisheries management which will benefit the protection, conservation and management of sharks in Malaysia by protecting threatened shark species under domestic laws, and by addressing the incidental capture of sharks.
Shark survival is ultimately vital in sustaining a healthy ocean. WWF-Malaysia also calls for collective effort from citizens of Malaysia to save sharks and taking the first step by joining our My Fin My Life campaign and pledging to be a shark hero today on myfinmylife.com.
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Rumaizah Mohammad Abu Bakar, Head of Communications,
WWF-Malaysia, Tel: +60-3-7450-3773, Email: RBakar@wwf.org.my