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 Local

Six marine parks in Sabah as sanctuaries for sharks

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Masidi (second left) with Musa (centre) and Musa's wife, Datin Seri Faridah Haji Tussin (third left) at the launch of theTun Mustapha Marine Park.

25th July, 2016

By ERIC BAGANG

KUDAT: Six marine parks managed by Sabah Parks have been declared as shark sanctuaries to ensure the shark population is protected.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that it is part of the state government’s effort to conserve shark as the federal government refused to make amendments on the Fisheries Act to ban shark finning.

“This is very important in the context of preserving shark population although we failed to get the relevant federal government’s ministry to agree on banning shark finning,” he said when met at the launching ceremony of Tun Mustapha Marine Park by Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman here yesterday.

However, he said that initial enforcement may not result in punitive measures but more on educating the offenders. “We would start the initiative of the creation of shark sanctuary by educating the people so that they too have ownership of the programme. At the end, the success or the failure of the programme depends on how much the people feel that it belongs to them.

“The most effective way to implement the sanctuary is to educate the local community, so the initial enforcement may not result in punitive measure but some extensive education and we want the locals, the fishermen to be with us, i.e. we are in the same team,” he added.

Masidi stressed education as an important part of conservation as he admittedly said that part of the reasons why the protection of wildlife failed is the relevant authorities’ failure to educate the villagers on the need for sustainable way of keeping the wild animals in the wild.

Therefore, he said that the success of any enforcement is not because of the laws in place but rather when the people feel they are part of the system.

According to him, the authorities have been educating the fishing community for the last 10 years.

“At first there were apprehension that it may affect their livelihood but after we explained to them that the whole idea is not to rob them of opportunity to make money but actually to make sure that there is something for them to harvest not only during their lifetime but also their children’s in the future,” he said.

Earlier at the event, Masidi said that the decision to gazette the Tun Mustapha Marine Park was not intended to inconvenience the local community but to ensure sustainability of marine life so that they can continue to benefit from the richness of the sea. He urged the local community to cooperate with the state government and Sabah Parks in ensuring the success of the conservation programmes in the marine park.

Covering 2.2 hectares of sea area encompassing Kudat, Kota Marudu, and Pitas, the Tun Mustapha Marine Park is the biggest marine park in the country.

   
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