Tue, 30 May 2023



Hope for sharks and rays
Published on: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
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Hope for sharks and rays
Worldwide, shark and ray populations have declined drastically.
Kota Kinabalu: The State Government pledged to increase Marine Park Areas (MPA) in Sabah to 13 per cent by 2023.In recognising the importance of MPAs for the conservation of shark species and other marine life,  Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said, this year,  the Department of Fisheries will be reviewing and strengthening the National Plan of Action (NPOA) for sharks and rays. He said this in his speech which was read by State Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Assaffal Alian at the opening of Shark Week 2020 event at Scuba Junkie Mabul Beach Resort in Semporna. Shafie said he was proud that Sabah is recognised by the international community for its  biodiversity. “We have 63 species of sharks and 68 species of rays in our waters – many of them are rare or endangered, and some are not found anywhere else in the world. “Such biodiversity must be showcased and celebrated. This ‘Shark Week’ event creates an opportunity for Sabahans, tourists and visitors to come together and celebrate our rich underwater heritage, and applaud what is being done to protect our marine ecosystems.” He said during this event, children, students, community members, tourism professionals and guests to Sabah have an opportunity to learn about sharks and their importance in marine ecosystems, as well as the threats they face and local and international efforts to conserve them. “People will hear of how worldwide, shark and ray populations have declined drastically – having an adverse impact on our oceans. “However, Sabah remains an iconic destination for diving with sharks, due to the hard work and diligence of many people. “Our government is working tirelessly to protect our remaining shark and ray populations. In particular, I would like to highlight the hard work of Sabah Parks in maintaining and protecting our Marine Parks, Department of Fisheries Sabah who have the difficult job of maintaining healthy fish and shark populations while also balancing the needs of the fishing community and our people, many of whom are reliant on our reefs for sustenance, and last but not least, our Maritime Security Agencies who work diligently to prevent illegal fishing vessels from entering our waters and to reduce the practice of destructive fishing methods in Sabah.” He was also  delighted to see local community groups such as Green Semporna stepping forward to engage school children and community members on these issues adding that  local youths will be the State’s environmental stewards of the future. 



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