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Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (left) speaking to reporters after officiating a meeting with the Sabah Agriculture Excos in Kota Kinabalu, while Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin looks on. -- TRP pic by Sandra Sokial
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KOTA KINABALU, Oct 5, 2015:
Since sharks are “accidentally caught” by fishermen in Malaysian waters, a proposal by the Sabah Government to ban its hunting and finning will not be realised.
Stressing that shark hunting and finning industry did not exist in Malaysia, Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the ban was deemed unnecessary.
“It is not like tuna where there is an industry to catch them. Sharks are normally caught by accident when they enter the fish nets along with the other fishes.
“And I don’t think they are purposely caught for their fins, which means, in perspective, there is no need to enforce a ban because the industry doesn’t exist (in Malaysia),” he said when met after officiating a meeting with the Sabah Agriculture Excos, here, today.
However, he said his ministry was “willing to discuss the issue with the Sabah Government” and would be ready to do so at any time.
Ahmad Shabery said he was aware of the proposal to set up a shark sanctuary zone in Semporna and other shark populated areas in Sabah, and that they were willing to also talk on the matter further.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun in 2012 proposed an amendment to the Fisheries Act that would give force to such a ban, but it was put on hold pending the Federal Government’s decision on the issue.
Masidi said they were frustrated at the length of time it was taking, especially since local environmental groups estimated that the shark population in Sabah had declined by 80% over the past three decades.
When pointed informed of the declining number in shark population, Ahmad Shabery only responded that they would get the Sabah government’s view on the matter for further discussion.
Of late, sharks could only be found in certain places such as Semporna and off the coast of Kudat and Tawau.
“We are only asking that they ban it in Sabah,” Masidi was reported by The Star Online, adding that the state government had no business interfering in the matters of other states,” said Masidi.
Meanwhile, a recent study by Traffic, a conservation NGO, showed that Malaysia played a significant role in the global shark trade and was among the top 10 importers and exporters in the world between 2000 and 2009.
The report also said that Malaysia caught 231,212 tonnes of sharks from 2002 to 2011, the eighth highest globally, accounting for 2.9% of the total global reported shark catch during that period.
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