Friday, October 09, 2015

Huge blow for Sabah tourism if sharks gone

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s diving industry earned RM364 million last year largely because divers were keen to see sharks swimming in the wild, said Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.

Unfortunately, Sabah may lose this attractiveness to divers due to the lack of protection accorded to some species of sharks from being hunted and finned, he told reporters here yesterday.

“I”Imagine if we have eaten all the sharks. There will be less people coming to Sabah. What is better? The RM364 million or the shark fin soup which I think contributes less than 10 percent to the RM364 million? Which one do you want to take care?” Masidi lamented.

He commented on the recent statement by Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek who cited that since sharks were ‘acidentally caught’ by fishermen in Malaysian waters, there wasn’t a need to ban the hunting and finning of sharks as proposed by the Sabah Government.

Ahmad Shabery also said that the finning industry did not exist in the country, hence the lack of need to impose the ban.

“I would argue otherwise,” said Masidi when approached by reporters to comment on the issue at the State Museum while attending the 2015 Borneo Bead Carnival yesterday.

“The fact that there is no shark fin industry why we should ban it because there is minimal economic repercussion. Normally, the government will not ban because it affects too many people.

“For example, the plastic industry: Everyone knows it is bad. But thousands of people are employed there and there will be repercussions to the people (if it was banned). So because there is no industry, we should consider Sabah’s request since not many people will be affected” he said.