SSPA Rolls Out Key Strategies For Shark And Ray Conservation | WWF Malaysia

SSPA Rolls Out Key Strategies For Shark And Ray Conservation

Posted on 04 July 2017
Sabah Shark Protection Association
© Sabah Shark Protection Association
Kota Kinabalu, 3 July 2017: Advocacy group Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA) has recently launched an initiative to focus on law and policy reform, research and awareness as it works towards strengthening the conservation of sharks and rays in Malaysia, and specifically in Sabah. 

Noting that most sharks and rays in Sabah’s waters are not legally protected and that landings have increased significantly in the last three decades, SSPA members are pooling their expertise to implement the three key strategic activities. 
Chairman Aderick Chong said the overall goal of SSPA’s advocacy over the next year is to strengthen the conservation of sharks and rays in Malaysia, with a focus on Sabah - which is the country’s most important state for these species.
To achieve this, the SSPA will work with relevant government departments to increase the level of legal protection for sharks and rays at various levels, promoting their long-term protection at the national level.
“Law and policy reform will be supported by research, which will include new studies on the market value of these species and whether these landings are from targeted fisheries or bycatch. Research will also look at the market value for shark and ray related eco-tourism.
“Our focus on awareness will see us rolling out impactful campaigns that support law and policy reform by engaging audiences - ranging from policy makers to students and fisher communities - about the biological and financial importance for sharks and rays,” he said in a statement today. 
As its strategic activities start to produce results, SSPA plans to hold a gathering of decision makers in March next year to agree to a “Vision 2030” and establish a roadmap to ensure the sustainability of sharks and rays in Sabah’s waters and beyond. 
SSPA comprises Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), Malaysian Nature Society (Sabah branch), Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Scuba Junkie SEAS, Shark Stewards, Scubazoo, Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC) and WWF-Malaysia. 
Meanwhile, Chong said greater transparency is needed in Malaysia in the monitoring of the shark and ray trade, following a recent report by TRAFFIC and WWF that points at Malaysia being an active player in the Southeast Asia region for both shark fin and meat trading. 
“The Shark and Ray Trade in Singapore” report published in May 2017 cites Malaysia as a major trading partner to the island nation, ranked as fifth and sixth in a list of destinations for Singapore’s shark fin exports by trade quantity for the 2005-2007 and 2012-2014 periods respectively. Malaysia also served as a source of Singapore’s shark fin imports. 
The report states that demand for shark and ray products in Singapore is being met by either unsustainable or entirely unknown sources due to current lack of genuine “sustainable shark and ray fisheries systems,” or adequate traceable systems with appropriate trade data recording. 
“SSPA believes that the situation is similar in Malaysia at a time when high demand for shark fin continues to be the main driver of unsustainable fishing of sharks globally,” he said.

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For more information, please contact:
Aderick Chong
President, Sabah Shark Protection Association

Mobile: +6016-830 6828

Kimberly Chung
Senior Communications and Campaigns Officer, Marine Programme, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +60 88 262 420
Sabah Shark Protection Association
© Sabah Shark Protection Association Enlarge