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Common Scarlet (Crocothemis servilia)
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Malaysia: Mabul sharks likely not from our waters
20th July 2016;
ictures on the killing of several Sharks that went viral on Tuesday were taken about a week ago, according to Semporna District Officer Dr Chacho Bulah.
He said it was usual for fishermen to rip the flesh of the fish to make “siagol”, a local delicacy using Shark meat as base, mixed with pepper and tumeric.
“However Sharks are not the main target for fishing activities in the area. They are a bycatch along with commercial species,” he said. Dr Chacho denied there had been any Shark finning activities in the area, pointing out the marine life were landed in Mabul with body still intact, only to be gutted and chopped up on the island.
Dr Chacho also confirmed that Mabul is a fish landing area.
According to seasoned divers in the area Mabul barely had any Shark population over the last 50 years.
Scubajeff divemaster Nazmi Razali said Mabul is not a main habitat for Sharks so one would be lucky to spot the species when diving.
“We in Mabul are aware that the Sharks were not captured in Malaysian waters.” But many of those who have visited the area confirmed the presence of a “slaughter house” for Sharks on the island for years.
Pat Lingam who posted photos of the Sharks on Facebook said many of these fishes were caught by the local fishermen and brought to the village to be gutted and chopped up.
“Mabul is just a base where they cut up the Sharks and sell them. The fish are caught from waters in neighbouring countries like Indonesia and sold to visitors, mostly visiting China nationals in Sabah,” said Pat revealing that the photos were taken Monday afternoon.
Fisheries Department Director Dr Ahemad Sade also verified the photos were indeed taken on Mabul but denied allegations there had been any Shark finning activities on the island.
Instead, he said all the Sharks are caught and brought back one piece before being chopped up at Mabul island which is the base for fish landing. Dr Ahemad said the fish are then put into baskets before being sent to Semporna.
“The Sharks brought to the island are cleaned and soaked for a while before the cutting process begins.
"Fishermen on the island use sea water instead of fresh water to clean the fish due to the lack of fresh water.
"The cutting can only be done during high tide,” he said.
“There had been no cases of protected fish being landed on Mabul.” There are 67 licensed fishermen on the island and they use hooks and long-lines to fish. Sharks are not the main catch but instead a bycatch along with other commercial fish caught unintentionally, he said.
Dr Ahemad also said from February 25 2014, the department had prohibited Shark fishing and finning on local fishing vessels and their bodies being thrown into the sea as additional requirements for licences.
Source: Daily Express