Tuesday, June 25

Destruction of sharks in Semporna shocks tourists

3
Picture of landing of the sharks on Pulau Mabul taken by the British couple. — Photo courtesy of Scuba Junkie

Picture of landing of the sharks on Pulau Mabul taken by the British couple. — Photo courtesy of Scuba Junkie

KOTA KINABALU: International tourists were horrified to see sharks being landed and finned on Pulau Mabul in Semporna yesterday.

The visitors, on their fifth visit to the region and both keen divers, were outside to watch the beautiful sunset when the fishing boat marred the view with shark carcasses clearly visible on the deck, said Scuba Junkie in a statement yesterday.

“We were devastated,” said Chris Fisher from Shropshire in England. “My wife and I have come to this area
several times to enjoy the beauty of the reefs and biodiversity of this region. In particular, we love diving at Sipadan and seeing so many sharks, so to see such destruction of something so important to the region was particularly upsetting. It has left a bad memory on an otherwise brilliant holiday.”

The couple took photographs of the boat, and the subsequent landing and cutting up of the carcasses.

“I did not know that this happened in this area, especially so close to Pulau Sipadan,” added Chris. “I had hoped that the region around Sipadan and Semporna – such an iconic destination for divers – would have better protection for marine life, especially sharks, as I would expect most divers come here to see them. We personally chose to dive here for the last four years due the higher possibility of seeing sharks – so it was really off putting, as tourists and divers, to witness this. Maybe someone will be able to use the photographs to aid shark conservation in the area,” he added.