Why shark numbers off Sabah down almost 100pc
Published on: Sunday, May 15, 2011
Text Size:

Kota Kinabalu: Reef shark populations have fallen by 98 per cent in 15 years and Technical Advisor of The Green Connection (Aquarium and Science Discovery Centre), Prof Steve Oakley, attributed this to the Government having allowed shark fishing for many years."Unfortunately, due to the increase in demand, the shark populations cannot support the fishery any longer. Most shark species have a relatively small range. Hammerhead sharks around Sipadan are being caught when they move away to feed at night," he said in a press statement, Saturday, in response to those who oppose the "Say No To Shark Fins Soup" Campaign.

The Green Connection is a partner in the campaign organised by JCI Tanjung Aru. Disclosing that there are no sharks in most of Sabah's national parks, Prof Oakley said six of our competitor tourist countries (Palau, Guam, Seychelles, Maldives, Honduras and Hawaii) have banned catching sharks.

He added that Bahamas have the most sharks in the world because of a 20-year-old ban on longline fishing. "Bans are being prepared for California, Oregon and other coastal US areas."

According to him, sharks contain toxic amounts of methyl mercury, which causes brain damage. "Please don't feed them to pregnant ladies or children. For an infant, poisoning is mental development disturbances and for an adult heavy damage to the central nervous system.

These express themselves by headache, memory difficulties or depression, besides kidney damages, cancer and massive damages of the brain, he said.

Prof Oakley warned that there are 420 micrograms of methyl mercury in a normal 300gm shark steak portion and this is 60 times more than a 70kg heavy consumer per day may have.

"The danger value is 0.1 microgram per kg body weight and day.

This value was specified by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in a toxicologist committee and is considered as new international standard.

A consumer might take only 5 gram blue shark steak or 12.7 gram of smoked rock salmon (smoked dogfish) per day," he said, adding each higher dose can have serious consequences.

Meanwhile, JCI Tanjung Aru's "Say No To Shark Fins" Campaign Project Chairman, Aderick Chong expressed confidence that when Sabah joins the rest of the popular diving destinations to ban sharks from being harvested, the State will be in the forefront of the best dive destinations, attracting tourists all over the world.

"Portraying Sabah as 'A shark fins free state' would be a good marketing tool for Sabah tourism," he said.

Chong said conserving sharks in Sabah ensures that sharks will still be in our waters for our next generation to see.

"Sabah's unique marine beauty is a heritage to be treasured and protected.

It is a heritage to be inherited by our next generation and for them to be proud of".

He thanked all those who agree to conserve sharks, especially the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun.

"For those who oppose, I hope that in time you would understand the importance of sharks to business. More Sharks = More Tourists and More Tourists = More Business," he said.


Other News

Follow Us  

Follow us on            

Sabah Top Stories