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The Sabah Shark and Ray Initiative Showcase: Humanising Marine Conservation

17 June 2022, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah:  The Sabah Shark and Ray Initiative (SSRI) Showcase: Humanising Marine Conservation will be held this weekend, 18 and 19 June 2022, Saturday and Sunday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at Tanjung Aru Marine Ecosystem (TAME) Center, in conjunction with World Ocean Month.  While SSRI has convened two forums in the past — the Semporna Sharks and Rays Forum as well as the Sabah Sharks and Rays Forum — this will be their first ever showcase open to the public.

The showcase — coordinated by LEAP Spiral and in collaboration with Marine Research Foundation (MRF), WWF-Malaysia, Scuba Junkie SEAS, and the Sabah Shark Protection Association with financial support from the Shark Conservation Fund — aims to bring public awareness to SSRI’s work and goals to address bycatch in commercial and small-scale fisheries, improve marine protected area effectiveness, assess the feasibility of locally managed marine areas, engage with law and policy, and conduct outreach.  

Three panel discussions will be held over the course of the event tackling various marine conservation-related topics relevant to the Sabahan seascape. The first one “Out of sight, out of mind?” explores the impacts of bycatch, what we can do about it, and what global best practices we can consider adopting. Another session unpacks the important roles of Marine Protected Areas, “Are MPAs living up to what they're supposed to?” and how safeguarding our marine resources and biodiversity is important. “Advocacy in Conservation through Various Mediums” discusses how narratives are portrayed within the conservation world and the mediums used to interweave creativity and conservation in storytelling.

The event will also feature key works from SSRI members, MRF and WWF-Malaysia alongside a variety of conservation booths representing different marine experts and organisations — including the Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC), Malaysian Ocean Youth Association (MOYA), 1StopBorneo Wildlife, Pangrok Sulap, and more — sharing their work and the insights they have garnered from them.  With these panel discussions and conservation booths, the hope is that it will spark dialogue on marine conservation amongst our community and strengthen alliances between government and community organisations to advance related policy progression in Sabah.

These goals will ultimately support Sabah’s Department of Fisheries, Sabah Parks, and other agencies in the conservation of threatened shark and ray species in Sabah.

For more information on the Sabah Shark and Ray Initiative, please head to their website: https://www.leapspiral.org/sharksandrays

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