Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shark Tourism Mabul Island, Minister Acts

At DEMA this year we were discussing the state of shark tourism with a number of tourism representatives from all over the world.

As we have long pointed out shark tourism enables local populations to sustainably manage sharks. The value of shark tourism in places like the Maldives is US$2.3 million a year-an estimated at 100 times more than the export value of that islands shark meat.

This is an industry drumbeat that's been gaining acceptance over the years and is now being adopted by forward thinking NGO's.

Unfortunately in many places this paradigm has also become a race between local fishermen who harvest sharks, for both fins and quick profits, and the newly developed and existing shark tourism operators in the region.

No where is this more aptly highlighted then recently in Malaysia and Mabul Island. This week State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun took the extraordinary step of calling for an investigation of shark fishing activities in the region. This is to applauded and kudos to the minister for this stance.

If Mabul Island and surrounding region is to retain it's sharks, local efforts in tandem with government are the key:

"Nature lovers and the global conservation community are fast becoming very influential lobbyists whose action could hurt the State's tourism industry in the long run if they decide a boycott of Sabah to protest against activities perceived to be cruel to whales and sharks," minister quote.

Complete Story


Greg Cox said...

the minister only acted after a few shark people started posting images of sharks being killed on the net!

Chelsea Bontham said...

Good to see divers making a stand for sharks as well.

Anonymous said...

First of all. Government must banned all restaurant around Sabah region from Serving Shark Fin Soup. Which make up 50% of restaurant profit. Banned serving of shark fin soup.

1Earth said...

I'm not sure they are as sincere as it may seem.

That WetPixel post with the photo of sharks being finned first did the rounds on the divers forums and only when a journalist enquired about it to the minister did he send out a text.

Then that same journalist wrote a story for the national newspaper and published one of the pictures with the sharks finned and bleeding.

Then they had some meetings.

Follow the trail of shark blood in this article:

Shark finning in Sabah on Mabul near Sipadan

Shark Diver said...

1 Earth,

You are on target we would like to offer you the blog post of "Malaysia"
if interested.

This issue gets to the heart of our industry and we need real coverage not media.