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Fish Market in Kota Kinabalu Openly Sells Shark Meat, But Should It Be Legal?



Source: Sabah Shark Protection Association

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Sharks have always been a delicacy around Asia, with shark fin soup ranking high on the list of must-haves during weddings and other celebrations.

But the effects of eating shark meat has caused the marine creatures to be overfished.

As showcased by Aderick Chong via the Sabah Shark Protection Association, several shark species can be seen sold openly at the Kota Kinabalu Fish Market.

11/9/20 @ Kota Kinabalu fish market

Posted by Sabah Shark Protection Association on Ahad, 13 September 2020

As unfortunate as it is, this is not a surprising sight considering Malaysia has been listed as the world’s second-largest importer of sharks, and that’s not something we should be proud of.

According to The Asean Post, this has caused 90 per cent crash in population over several species of sharks in Malaysia, including a few different types of hammerhead sharks which are already on the IUCN Red List.

And apparently, no one seems to care.

During the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2019, Malaysia, along with most other ASEAN countries voted against a proposal to impose rules on the sustainable trade of 18 species of sharks and rays.

A representative of the  Malaysian Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources argued that the species listed under the proposal were actually not intentionally caught and are considered as collateral damage by commercial fishing nets. The Fisheries Department also allegedly added that the population of these sharks will not be affected by exploitation and trade of those species.

But, the president of the environmental NGO, Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Meenakshi Raman thinks otherwise.

“Whether a by-catch or a targeted species, few controls are in place to limit harvest levels and it is unclear whether the current levels of extraction are sustainable for all or certain shark species. The fate of the world’s sharks are in the hands of the top 20 shark catchers, Malaysia included, many of whom have failed to demonstrate what they are doing to save these imperiled species,” she said.

Malaysia plays a pivotal role in the decrease of shark populations as they are listed as ‘fish’ under the Fisheries Act, leading shark fishing to be carried out at an unsustainable level. If this continues, unintended consequences may occur as sharks are considered top ocean predators and help to balance marine ecosystems.

Fishes are considered a normal dietary inclusion, but sharks should be exempted from that categorisation.

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comment section. 


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