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Shark finning in Sipadan/Mabul area


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#21 Amber

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:55 PM

I have attempted to send emails to all these address as I am travelling to this region in July and this concerns me.
However they all appear to have bounced, has anyone else found this?

#22 Drew

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:03 AM

Might be a temporary server issue. I doubt the resorts would block emails going in. The government emails may block. If all of them don't work then it's likely they blocked your mail server.

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#23 tdpriest

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 04:35 AM

Mercury is not enough, we need more and wider spread of H5N1 and SARS so that human species can reboot itself and that might be the solution to save the reef or global warming.


:lol:

Although I am deeply upset by the demise of sharks in the Celebes Sea, and appalled that it can happen in a "protected" area, there is really no cause for such an obscene posting: death from respiratory failure and overwhelming sepsis I wouldn't wish on the most appalling human being, let alone the bulk of humanity.

I have seen too much influenza in the last few months to have any sympathy for a post in such questionable taste.

Incidentally, I suspect that this finning is not a new event: there were very few sharks around in 2007 when I stayed on Mabul, and those very skittish.

:)

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;)

Edited by tdpriest, 30 January 2009 - 04:39 AM.


#24 Mattkk

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 06:04 AM

Just to add some more information about this subject, as I lived in Sabah for 10 years and spent a long time on the islands.

Fishing for sharks has been going on for a long time and yes, the meat is sold as well as the fins. When I spoke to some some of the fisherman, they told me they were traveling a long way south for their fishing. Whether this is still the case I don't know - this was 6-7 years ago.

Whilst not condoning what is happening, it has to be stated that these fisherman are responding to a demand for shark's fin, pure and simple. The only way to give sharks a chance, around Sipadan or anywhere else in the world, is to remove or reduce that demand. Make it illegal in the area and boycott resorts, but the fishermen will still go ahead and find a way of taking fins as there is such a large incentive.

Rather than target the people at the source, better to concentrate on the consumers. THEY are the ones that are driving this forward at a relentless rate, not the fishermen.

Edited by Mattkk, 30 January 2009 - 06:06 AM.


#25 Drew

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 07:30 AM

I think the idea of this protest has been misunderstood by a few people. I fully understand the villager's need to survive. No one is denying them the right to eat and make money. However, if 5 resorts (not to mention an upcoming oceanarium) does not contribute to the villager's rehabilitation to sustainable development (eg seaweed cultivation and cottage industries, all of which have been tested with other Bajau villages in MPAs in Sabah), why should we support them? It is in the resort's own interest to protect the area. We are reminding them that they can't just rely on government aid to help the villagers and collect their profits. Same for the government tourism campaign. If Malaysia does not take one of their resources seriously enough, then tourists need to remind them that they will go to places where conservation is better. This is not a boycott (yet). This is just a plea to garner support for the villagers to leave their unsustainable lifestyle and also to expand the MPA to encompass the rest of the island group. By reminding resorts and the authorities that they cannot sit idly by, we are using our tourist dollars as an impetus to better the area, including for the Bajau, as MPAs with no take zones have shown that fish catch goes up once the areas start recovering.
I also appreciate stopping the demand is the ultimate goal, but it is only the major part of the plan. Stopping the supply is also part of the plan in stopping finning. There will always be demand for fins as there is still at least a generation of asians who do not have the environmental sensibilities of the newer generation. Making finning illegal is also a necessity. A multi-prong attack on the problem of finning is the only way to reduce it. I have no delusions to think we can ever eliminate it.
The Bajau may have an incentive to fish for shark, but the resorts and government need an incentive to protect their resources. This campaign is merely a reminder that they have to do a better job.

Tim, sometimes people post the most inane things thinking it's funny. One has to learn to ignore those posts.

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#26 CADiver

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:19 AM

:(

Although I am deeply upset by the demise of sharks in the Celebes Sea, and appalled that it can happen in a "protected" area, there is really no cause for such an obscene posting: death from respiratory failure and overwhelming sepsis I wouldn't wish on the most appalling human being, let alone the bulk of humanity.

I have seen too much influenza in the last few months to have any sympathy for a post in such questionable taste.

Incidentally, I suspect that this finning is not a new event: there were very few sharks around in 2007 when I stayed on Mabul, and those very skittish.

:lobster:

Tim

:wacko:


Yes, you can ignore me, I know my humor is bad taste sometime, alright most of the time. I stand on sharks finning in the open water is a bad thing in general or has to be monitor and manage, much like other countries that allow killing wales. If some European countries allow killing wales (I am not talking about endanger spieces) why aren't Africa or Asia countries not allow given if it is not endanger species and is monitor and manage such that it doesn't affect the overall ecosystem. If this is not not possible, then sure ban everybody. I think there are double standard somewhere between the West and the East, the poor Asian countries are the one often being harrass. There are hundereds of sharks fin theme restaurants in Bangkok and other cities around the world, outlaw sharks fin consumption would seems impossible unless it's proven hazzard to our health much like banning smoking in public places. There is an entire industry depends on this product, eliminiating sharks fin is elminating an industry that also has deeper economic impact, closing down factories, laying off workers, etc. Why aren't we elminate cavier ? The mercury level hasn't done enough & the goverment won't do a thing unless it's proven deadly. Until then, we should find ways to farm raise the supply much like other food chains. I understand everything has a challenge, I just don't believe by not allowing sharks fin consumption or keep harrassing Asian will resolve the issue. If we never kill sharks from now on, wouldn't that also pose another problem in the future, overly populated evenutally ? Isn't there should be a balance somewhere ?

Edited by CADiver, 30 January 2009 - 10:28 AM.

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#27 Drew

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:04 PM

Yes, you can ignore me, I know my humor is bad taste sometime, alright most of the time. I stand on sharks finning in the open water is a bad thing in general or has to be monitor and manage, much like other countries that allow killing wales. If some European countries allow killing wales (I am not talking about endanger spieces) why aren't Africa or Asia countries not allow given if it is not endanger species and is monitor and manage such that it doesn't affect the overall ecosystem. If this is not not possible, then sure ban everybody. I think there are double standard somewhere between the West and the East, the poor Asian countries are the one often being harrass. There are hundereds of sharks fin theme restaurants in Bangkok and other cities around the world, outlaw sharks fin consumption would seems impossible unless it's proven hazzard to our health much like banning smoking in public places. There is an entire industry depends on this product, eliminiating sharks fin is elminating an industry that also has deeper economic impact, closing down factories, laying off workers, etc. Why aren't we elminate cavier ? The mercury level hasn't done enough & the goverment won't do a thing unless it's proven deadly. Until then, we should find ways to farm raise the supply much like other food chains. I understand everything has a challenge, I just don't believe by not allowing sharks fin consumption or keep harrassing Asian will resolve the issue. If we never kill sharks from now on, wouldn't that also pose another problem in the future, overly populated evenutally ? Isn't there should be a balance somewhere ?

All of ONE EU country, Norway, is commercially whaling outside of the IWC moratorium. The Faroes are under the Danish control and have now lowered their whaling to minimal levels due to the health hazards of whale meat consumption.
I accept that there are double standards in most any issue, however, this is NOT a East West issue. The Asians (particularly the ethnic Chinese) are the biggest consumer of shark fins. This consumption by the ethnic chinese happens all over the world. Sure there are restaurants which have fins on the menu. Those same restaurants also have other things on the menu. I seriously doubt if the restaurant was worth its salt, it'd go under because it didn't serve sharks fin soup. As for sharks fin themed restaurants, the same pots and pans can cook other things and all it takes is a redo of the menu and signboards. The industry is a high profit commodity based on many layers, the labor factor (fishermen and collectors of the fins) are reassignable to other aspects of the labor force. It's not a specialty.
I don't believe any Asian group has been "harassed", and it has definitely not been suggested here. Unless you consider education about eco-systems and conservation of species to be harassment.
Every shark census has already noted over 90-95% declines in shark population around the world. That occurred in the last 15-25 years (coinciding with the economy booms of Asia), that should tell you how sustainable it is. All anecdotal evidence also corroborates the numbers (eg. El Bajo in the Sea of Cortez, the blues off Socal, ANYWHERE in Asia). If 90-95% declines can happen in 25 years, which part of the slope do you think can provide for sustainable consumption? I do suggest you read up on the issue more thoroughly. You'd be surprised how unsustainable shark fishing is.

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#28 Bent C

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:04 PM

If we never kill sharks from now on, wouldn't that also pose another problem in the future, overly populated evenutally ? Isn't there should be a balance somewhere ?


Working as a population ecologist, I often meet this kind of argument from proponents for culling of apex predators (wolves, bears, lynx, wolverines, foxes and so on and so on just to mention a few). Balance in itself is a somewhat dubious concept in nature, as ecosystems often show marked variations in densities of different species over time. However, to believe that human "control" is necessary to keep some kind of a mythical balance in nature is an argument not at all founded in any kind of science. Furthermore, sharks would most likely be the group of predators that I would find most harmfull from ecosystem functioning reasons to cull. All data available show that ocean ecosystems are likely to be way better of with no culling of larger predators at all.

After all, sharks and other ocean creatures have made quite a good stretch of coexistence for the last many million years without any kind of human balancing actions!

/Bent C

Edited by Bent C, 30 January 2009 - 01:07 PM.

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#29 Mattkk

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 02:30 AM

"I think the idea of this protest has been misunderstood by a few people. I fully understand the villager's need to survive. No one is denying them the right to eat and make money. However, if 5 resorts (not to mention an upcoming oceanarium) does not contribute to the villager's rehabilitation to sustainable development (eg seaweed cultivation and cottage industries, all of which have been tested with other Bajau villages in MPAs in Sabah), why should we support them?"

Drew - Fair point, I think I did misunderstand this slightly. My initial read of the protest was 'Threatening a boycott will help save sharks' - hence my reply about going after consumers etc etc. But I have to say, I still don't think this is the right way of going about things. Raising awareness of what is going on - even though shark fishing it is not illegal, and most likely, not happening on or around Sipadan - is a good thing, yes, but ultimately the people that will suffer the most as a result of a protest are the fisherman.

I am playing devil's advocate here I have to confess. I think its too easy to have a knee-jerk reaction after seeing photos like this and jump to some sort of action. I agree whole-heartedly that resorts in ANY tourist area, let alone in Sabah, need to contribute to the lives of the locals and work at conserving the environment in the area - but threats of a boycott I don't think are going to help. The situation there is already far too complicated and messy for an easy solution. What would happen if people decided to boycott the area? Perhaps a resort is forced to close its doors - leaving room for another to open, operated by whom? Catering to what sort of market?

"This is just a plea to garner support for the villagers to leave their unsustainable lifestyle and also to expand the MPA to encompass the rest of the island group."

This is at the heart of the problem. Why should they leave their unsustainable lifestyle? How many tourists actually go into the villages and find out all about their 'lifestyle'? Spend time in the area getting to know the people and what they want? What alternatives do the villages even consider? How can they go about making a change?

Tourists should be working WITH the resorts, not against them. Or even taking matters into their own hands and helping the villagers directly. What about the members of this forum all agreeing to spend one less day diving, using the time to go and talk to the villagers and finding out where a solution may lie? Why not set up a fund, to support education or training for villagers - put the money you saved by skipping a day's diving into the fund? Or a even a microcredit scheme to help villagers move away from shark fishing? If you want to solve a long-term problem, you need to provide a long-term solution! Angrily walking away and saying 'We're not coming anymore because its not like it used to be' doesn't help.

Times change, populations grow and places evolve. I agree that tourist dollars can be, and should be, a positive force, but only if the tourists themselves get involved and put their money where their mouth is - using their money to HELP, not withdrawing it.

"We are reminding them that they can't just rely on government aid to help the villagers and collect their profits."

And by extension, tourists can't rely on other people to ensure that their tourist dollars are actually doing some good. Only the tourists themselves can do that.

Drew - As I said, I am playing devil's advocate here. Just trying to contribute some alternative thoughts and questions. I'm glad you posted this orginally!

#30 marg_thompson

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:40 AM

This is devastating. I was there in 2005 - the dive sites around Sipidan were teeming with sharks - though saw none around Mabul. There was no evidence of shark finning on Mabul at the time, but on the mainland (semporna) , at the fish market we discovered a stack of about a dozen mantas, dolphins, and about every reef fish under the sea. For a place that relies so directly on tourist dollars, it is amazing how little is being done with regards to conservation. Thank you for posting the contact details - they will be hearing from me, too. I had heard conditions had gone downhill, but this is too sad.
I would like to add, with regards to the comment of the villagers survival... sharks are an apex predator and a keystone species. their population is important to all fish and marine mammal populations in ways we do not even know. sustainable development is the only way forward. as the chinese economy has grown stronger, shark finning has drastically increased. please consider this - sharkfin soup is eaten by primarily the elite, in very few east asian nations. but it is beginning to affect the entire ocean ecosystem. is it fair that a soup that tastes of nothing but gelatinous goo should pose such a threat? and it will very quickly have negative effects on these fishermen. while it may hold very short term economic gain, in the long run, the implications are too great. If kids (from all around the world, but mostly asia, and who don't even necessarily understand the gravity of what they have done) can get sharkfin soup off the menu at disney land in hong kong, it is worth a try for divers especially (who truly appreciate what they travel around the world to see) to protest shark finning in Borneo (and elsewhere). The resorts and diving operations (who rely on OUR $$$) in the area should be involved in grass-roots sustainable development projects that encourage tourism, involving the islands fishermen and their economy. Let's give them a nudge!

#31 CADiver

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 02:20 PM

Is this really a shark ?

Edited by CADiver, 31 January 2009 - 02:29 PM.

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#32 syam

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 12:03 AM

Keep up the effort, we're on the right track. Malaysian politicians often take action only when something appears in the national press.

The Star Online - Probe into whale and shark killings

Edited by syam, 01 February 2009 - 12:05 AM.


#33 Drew

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 12:47 AM

Hopefully this will spur the authorities to act before it is too late. Please keep writing in to show support for conservation of sharks in Malaysian waters.

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#34 CADiver

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 09:26 PM

Is this really a shark ?


No one will confirm if this is shark ? With fins still attached but at a fish market in UK ? Is that an unusal scene or what ?
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#35 timrock

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 07:51 PM

I was there in Mabul for 10 days during a rather calm period right when Borneo Divers was breaking ground, so about 2004 I'd guess. With not many folks around, the sharking was taking place and a huge tiger shark was brought in one day. At one house you could see a number of large hooks being polished. So this is nothing new and probably more lucrative to some folks in the upper echelons than residuals of conservation for the sake of diving. We also saw a lot of sharks and rays, even eagle rays, in the market.

Diving, we did see sharks at Sipadan but nowhere else.

I believe they fish in the deep, current-fed dropoffs near Mabul and not especially at dive sites. But the lack of any sharks kind of speaks for itself.

I guess all we can do is write letters and hope someone cares, but I think the sharks are probably in for a tough road anywhere in Malaysia. Fin money talks loudly.

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#36 wahlaoeh

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 04:00 PM

We're on the right track :D Please keep writing ...
http://www.dailyexpr...fm?NewsID=62455

#37 kong

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 08:27 PM

Hi everyone, I am a diver from Sabah. I am glad that you bring this issue to the attention of government.
However, I have a bad news just for your info...

Excerpt from the news "Turtles, sharks most at risk":
"The long-line fishing method introduced recently in Sabah waters through licences to two local companies which will operate 10 boats is among the most depleting fishing methods and one which is non-sustainable... He said long liners are estimated to kill in excess of 40,000 sea turtles, 300,000 sea birds (including the charismatic albatross), thousands of mammals and millions of sharks each year..."
Full article: http://www.dailyexpr...fm?NewsID=62480

Edited by kong, 15 February 2009 - 08:29 PM.


#38 timrock

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 11:59 PM

[quote name='kong' date='Feb 15 2009, 07:27 PM' post='201596']
Hi everyone, I am a diver from Sabah. I am glad that you bring this issue to the attention of government.
However, I have a bad news just for your info...

Until we figure out how to get the finners a piece of the tourism action so they have a vested interest in preserving the oceans, we're screwed.

We need a good campaign in Asia that shows that shark fins make your hair fall out, your unit go limp and causes all kinds of cancers. Then the fishing and finning will stop because the demand will stop.

But writing to tourism officials won't do much. This shark fin industry is bigger than a country's fledgling tourism industry and obviously those in high places offering fishing permits don't see the conflict and turn a blind eye to the destruction.

Timbo
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#39 helenbrunt

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:37 AM

[i][quote name='Drew' date='Jan 30 2009, 10:30 PM' post='199735']
"The Bajau may have an incentive to fish for shark, but the resorts and government need an incentive to protect their resources. This campaign is merely a reminder that they have to do a better job."
---------

I just want to point out that the community of Mabul is comprised of more than just Bajau people. It is a complex mixture of many different ethnic groups, the majority being Bajau and Suluk/Tausug. I think that it is unfair to associate shark finning in Mabul solely with the Bajau community.

thanks

#40 syam

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 03:31 AM

Another report in the national press, this time copied straight from this thread. The reporter didn't ask me for permission to publish the pictures. If you're reading this, Julia Chan, yes I give the permission.

Divers threaten to boycott Sabah over shark finning