Stop Sharkfinning in Sipadan

  • by: Patricia - rui xia
  • recipient: mtpnsabah@motour.gov.my , sabahparks@sabah.gov.my, menteri@motour.gov.my, yabi.yangkat@sabah.gov.my
Shark finning is happening on Mabul island at the same as resorts are being built non-stop on Mabul and Kapalai for the tourist dollars. We ought to look at long term sustainable and economically profitable solutions, which imply protecting the sharks in areas that are deemed protected. Sipadan's ecosystem depends on the sharks in the surrounding waters, and the eco tourism and dive tourism depends on an intact eco system.
Dear Sir and Madam,

Shark finning is happening on Mabul island at the same as resorts are being built non-stop on Mabul and Kapalai for the tourist dollars. We ought to look at long term sustainable and economically profitable solutions, which imply protecting the sharks in areas that are deemed protected. Sipadan's ecosystem depends on the sharks in the surrounding waters, and the eco tourism and dive tourism depends on an intact eco system.  Mabul and Kapalai are not part of any marine protected area, but a park fee for diving in Sipadan has to be paid, and this fee goes to Sabah Parks for the protection of Sipadan. Thus laws ought to prevent sharkfinning and long line fishing in and the surrounding islands.

The finners come from a fishing village on the island of Mabul and not attached to the resorts in any way. However, the resorts hire their staff from the islanders, and we are contributing to the resorts.  Divers pay RM40 for the priviledge to dive at Sipadan and at 120 divers per 1/2 day (240 per day), RM9600 a day is being given to Sabah park for the maintenance of the Marina Park. What is the point of paying RM40 to protect Sipadan if the outlying areas will be decimated, especially as it is a known fact that large fish move in large territories, thus move in and out of the directly protected area.

We fully understand that the fishermen are autonomous and deserve the right to make a living. However, when they are making a living on an unsustainable resource, in an area where we tourists pay money to go to see that same particular resource, then the authorities have to decide whether to attract tourism or accede to a short term gain by 5 fishermen.

If the resorts are not contributing to the local community, being via employment, schools or other benefits, then they are also limited in their outlook for the future of tourism in the Ligitan Island group. Once it is known that sharkfinning is taking place on the very island where divers come to stay it will effect the islands reputation and prevent divers from coming or returning to Sipadan. Yet it is the diving touristism that ultimately supports the protected as well as the local community financially.

Therefore we urge you to take emmediate action to ban all sharkfinning and long line fishing activities in Sipadan and the surrounding islands. Please also ensure that there are tight controls and rigit enforcement of such regulation, thus fostering the ecological and economical future of the the Sipadan area.

Yours sincerely,
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