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Shark finning in Sipadan/Mabul area

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#41 syam



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Posted 24 February 2009 - 09:48 PM

Its official, they're not going to do anything.

Despite the title of the article below, The Semporna Tourism Action Council (STAC), decided that "if the shark population can be restored through the implementation of the NPOA and that shark fishing can be proven to be sustainable then there would be no need for a ban on the activity". In Malaysian speak it means no plan of action, business goes on as usual, everything is ok. So for those of you planning to go to Sipadan/Mabul soon, just skip it, there's no point supporting a place where they think killing sharks is ok and endorsed by the Tourism Council. Just email the resort, telling why you're not going.

Ban shark finning activities: Council (24 Feb 2009)

For those of you wondering what is Malaysia's National Plan of Action (NPOA) on the Conservation and Management of Sharks, the first para of the Conclusion gives you an idea of what they think.

"Sharks are not targeted by fishers but are caught together with other commercially important species. They are brought back as a whole to the port and sold at a reasonable price with the fins fetching a better price. Similarly rays are caught and sold at a reasonable price."

It goes on to conclude that actions need to be taken are

• Strengthen data collection on biology and related habitats.
• Collect and compile list of dominant, vulnerable and endangered shark species
found in Malaysia
• Monitor landings so that it stabilized at sustainable manner
• Identify habitats for reproduction and nursery ground and these need to be protected
from destruction and fishing activities.
• Strengthen data collection on socio-economic of fishers and traders
• Strengthen data collection on trade
• Encourage full utilisation of elasmobranch catches by improving value-added of
shark’s product especially meat, skin and cartilage.
• Improve and develop framework for establishing and coordinating effective
consultation involving stakeholders in research, management and educational
initiatives within and between States.
• Strengthen education and public awareness among fishers and people on
importance of conservation of shark resources.
• Implement effective conservation and management strategies on shark resources.

You can get the NPOA from here

#42 shawnh


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Posted 24 February 2009 - 10:05 PM

Yup...and so it goes. But, the fight isn't over. If the threat doesn't work, the actual sting can. They need to see and feel the economic loss of tourism. That will get a LOT more folks involved. Trouble is the folks who get hurt initially (tourist industry) don't deserve it and are unfortunate by standers. On the other hand, they can either seriously get involved now or wait until they have no choice.

This is always so difficult!
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#43 syam



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Posted 24 February 2009 - 10:40 PM

The Semporna Tourist Action Council consists of people from the tourism industry. Either they were overruled in the meeting or they haven't presented their case well. In any case when they see the tourist numbers falling, then they might do something about it. In Malaysia, money rules - everything else comes second.

From the article - "The council is headed by the District Officer and comprises members from the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, Sabah Parks, Sabah Fisheries Department, Sabah Tourism Board, as well as non-governmental bodies such as WWF Malaysia and local tourism players and business communities."

#44 AMW


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Posted 25 February 2009 - 12:00 AM

No more Sipaden diving for me! I will spend my money else where...

#45 shawnh


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Posted 25 February 2009 - 07:53 AM

As an aside, there is rampant shark finning throughout Cocos, Galapagos, Raja Ampat, Fiji, South Africa, Maldives, etc, etc. Most of the time it goes unnoticed. In the case of Mabul, it happened to get noticed. Technically it isn't even shark finning as the images I saw had full sharks being offloaded. Shark finning is the practice of cutting off the fins and throwing the shark back in the sea. At least they were keeping the whole shark with is better than many other places.

As divers and photographers, I am not certain if we could boycott enough places and have our numbers mean much to the tourism industry. Even in the Bahamas where diving is "huge", I believe it is less then 6% of tourism (don't quote me). The problem is so much bigger than our industry. We need folks in all walks of life really mobilized if we are to end this destruction.
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#46 xkirkie


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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:57 AM

Recently, a WP member, Syam, was in Mabul staying at The Mabul Backpacker's Lodge. When returning from one of his dives, he saw something that should not be happening in an area where you pay RM40 for park fees in Sipadan. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:
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Yes, shark finning is happening on Mabul island as resorts are being built non-stop on Mabul and Kapalai for the tourist dollar. In this time of economic crisis, we divers should vote with our money in protecting the sharks from areas that are deemed protected, yet not. Mabul/Kapalai are not part of any marine protected area, but there is a park fee for diving in Sipadan. This fee goes to Sabah Parks, presumably for the protection of Sipadan.
The finners come from a fishing village on the island of Mabul and not attached to the resorts in any way. However, the resorts hire their staff from the islanders, and we are contributing to the resorts. What is the point of paying RM40 to protect Sipadan if the outlying areas will be decimated? At 120 divers per 1/2 day (240 per day), RM9600 a day is being given to Sabah park for the maintenance of the rest area and toilets?
We fully understand that the fishermen are autonomous and deserve the right to make a living. However, when they are making a living on an unsustainable resource, in an area where we tourists pay money to go to see that same particular resource, then the authorities have to decide whether to attract tourism or accede to a short term gain by 5 fishermen.
If the resorts are not contributing to the local community, being via employment, schools or other benefits, then they are also limited in their outlook for the future of tourism in the Ligitan Island group. As diving tourists, why should we contribute to the decline of a beautiful area by supporting the resorts which do not protect their own resources?
In conclusion, we strongly urge the resorts to campaign Sabah Parks to prohibit shark finning in the Ligitan island group area. If the area is not protected, we will choose to dive in other areas of South East Asia where the marine life is protected with the money collected.

As divers please write to these resorts and relevant Malaysian Authorities to ask them to reconsider their position, lest we reconsider how we spend our money. It is also VERY important to keep your emails civilized and non-confrontational, as a calm protest will always garner more respect:

Government authorities:
Minister of Tourism, Malaysia:
YB. Dato' Sri Azalina Dato' Othman Said

General Manager
Sabah Tourism Action Council

Environment Protection Department

Sabah Parks:

Rayner Stuel Galid
Director of the Department of Fisheries,
Sabah Rayner.Galid@sabah.gov.my


Borneo Divers:

Sipadan Water Village:

Sipadan Mabul Resort:

Sipadan Kapalai Resort:

Additional email addresses to follow on:

YB. Dato' Sri Sulaiman Abd. Rahman Abd. Taib
Pejabat Timbalan Menteri Pelancongan (Deputy Minister of Tourism)

Ministry of Tourism email Directory

Hi Drew,

My name is Kirk Lee, i run a facebook page "Save Our Sharks From A Bowl Of Soup"

The purpose of the page above is to create awareness n educate public about Shark Fin Crisis n not to consume SFS.

I came across your post on Wetpixel n similar one on MUW



I had called up The Star Online n they agree to look up the case n would post on The Star Online provided if i could gather more fact n info such as pictures n video, n not hear say...
Did you took those pictures? Do you have any video?

Kirk Lee

Here is our previous project on the star online

#47 syam



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Posted 30 August 2011 - 06:25 AM

This could be good news.


Wanting & doing & enforcing the ban are three different things, i'll wait till it happens before celebrating.

#48 Rocha


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Posted 30 August 2011 - 06:42 AM

Good news indeed, thanks for the update Syam. Let's hope for the best.

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