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August 12, 2011

Sharp drop in Shark catch

By MUGUNTAN VANAR
vmugu@thestar.com.my

KOTA KINABALU: The number of sharks being caught in fishing nets around Sabah has fallen significantly over the past few years.

“We don't find many sharks entangled in our nets these days. It is a very small number compared to about five years ago,” said Federation of Sabah Fisheries and Fishing Trawler Association president Arsani Arsat.

The sharks reaching the Kota Kinabalu central market were probably caught by outsiders who specifically go after the fish for its fins.

“Most of us in commercial fishing do not go for sharks but they do get caught in our nets,” he said, explaining that it would be difficult to “avoid” catching sharks considering their method of trawler fishing.

Shark for the Fins
Work of outsiders: The sharks reaching the Kota Kinabalu central market are probably caught by those who specifically go after the fish for its fins.

Work of outsiders: The sharks reaching the Kota Kinabalu central market are probably caught by those who specifically go after the fish for its fins. The association members, said Arsani, would be supportive of the state government's efforts to ban shark harvesting.

“But we hope the authorities can advise us on how we can avoid ensnaring sharks in our nets,” he said.

Arsani also urged the Government to keep closer tabs on Vietnamese and Chinese fishing vessels allowed to fish in Malaysian waters under joint ventures.

“Our fishermen don't catch (the endangered) sea turtles. The outsiders are the ones doing it,” he said, adding that the demand for shark's fin was not as high in Sabah as compared to markets in China and Hong Kong.

Local groups Green Connection and Junior Chamber International (JCI) conducted a one-month survey that showed that sharks were widely sold at the market here.

A visit to the market yesterday showed that sharks without fins were being sold at RM8 per kg.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said they were working on the dates to impose a ban on the shark harvesting. The state government is hoping to implement the ban by year end.

 

 

  
 
 
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