SFC: Sharks sold at Miri market not protected species

Zolkipli Mohamad Aton - Image from SFC website
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KUCHING, Oct 10: The sharks found openly sold at a market in Miri are not protected species under the Sarawak Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1988.

According to Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), investigation carried out found that the sharks were that of the Carcharhinus Sorrah species, or known as “Yu Kepak Hitam”.

Its chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said this species of shark was a common species in the market, including Sabah and Indonesia.

“Therefore, there are no issues of eating, trading and catching,” he said in a media statement today.

This species of shark, he pointed out, was also not listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I or II.

SFC was responding to an article in a local daily, in which Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) Miri Branch had called for the relevant authorities to urgently give due protection to sharks after they were found openly sold in a market.

“If the species (are) listed under CITES Appendix I or II, even outside of Sarawak, they are also considered protected species in the state,” he added.

MNS Miri chairman Musa Musbah has urged Sarawak to upgrade its Ordinance to make sharks a totally protected species.

He said currently, there were loopholes in the existing federal and Sarawak laws on the protection of sharks.

He added that the majority of European countries have listed sharks as totally protected species, while in Sarawak fishermen can take advantage of the loopholes in the law.

Musa explained that fishermen cannot intentionally catch fully protected marine wildlife like Manta rays or Hammerhead sharks, but if they are accidentally caught, the catch can be landed. — DayakDaily