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Friday, February 20, 2009

Divers threaten to boycott Sabah over shark finning

Wah, I wanted to go to Sipadan this year too but now I think I will boycott Sabah too! I always believe that us divers have a unique relationship with the ocean and its creatures and we need to speak up for them!

Divers threaten to boycott Sabah over shark finning
2009/02/16, By : Julia Chan, The New Straits Times Online

KOTA KINABALU: Sipadan conjures up an image of a serene, protected underwater world -- one of the world's top dive spots.

But just a half-hour boat ride away off Pulau Mabul, the blood of magnificent sharks, crudely finned and gutted by the boatload stains the sea red.

Shark finning has been going on here for several years, and the stark contrast between Sipadan and Mabul has caused an uproar in the international diving community, with some threatening to boycott Sabah entirely.

Finning is the inhumane practice of hacking off the shark's fins and throwing its still living body back into the sea.

A diver said: "Why should we contribute to the decline of a beautiful area by supporting a place which does not protect its own resources?

Asked to comment, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said: "My ministry will relay our concern to the Fisheries Department and the Semporna district officer.

"We need to be sensitive to global views to protect our tourism. A small mistake or inaction could have major repercussions for the industry. Nature lovers and the global conservation community are fast becoming an influential lobbying group who could hurt the state tourism industry if they decide to boycott Sabah in protest against such activities."

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