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Mattkk

Member Since 09 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active Feb 08 2010 03:12 PM
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Posts I've Made

In Topic: Shark finning in Sipadan/Mabul area

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!

In Topic: Shark finning in Sipadan/Mabul area

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.

In Topic: Nexus parts - zoom gear for Nikon 12-24

08 November 2008 - 03:44 AM

Zaritas - You need to get in touch with steve at Ocean Optics - http://www.oceanoptics.co.uk/ partners with Mavericks. They stock nexus gear for sure.... Matt