Illegal fishing: A Reef Shark died after being trapped in a fishing net within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, off Kota Kinabalu.

Malaysia: Killed in a protected park
By Muguntan Vanar, 7th February 2016;

A picture of a Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) killed by fishing nets within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Park has sparked calls for immediate action to restrict fishing within the marine park.

In describing the incident as appalling, Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA) president Aderick Chong said steps must be taken against fishing in the protected area as it was an offence under the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Enactment 1984.

He said the offenders should face the full brunt of the law, which provides for a one-year imprisonment, a fine not exceeding RM20,000 or both for first-time offenders, while repeat offenders could face double the fine or jail time or both.

“It is disheartening to see these pictures of dead sharks that must have struggled for their lives when they were caught in these nets. Furthermore, it is believed that the nets were from illegal fishing activities within the marine park,” Chong said in a statement.

He thanked Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures for highlighting the issue and its immediate steps to work with Sabah Parks to clear the fishing nets discovered in the marine park.

“The result of this active collaboration has resulted in releasing live creatures including sharks and rays. We are also pleased to hear that the net from this incident has been completely removed,” said Chong whose association spearheaded a campaign to ban shark hunting and finning in Sabah.

SSPA consists of the Malaysian Nature Society (Sabah branch), Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Shark, Education, Awareness and Survival (SEAS), Scubazoo, Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC), WWF-Malaysia, Shark Stewards and Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP).

Tunku Abdul Rahman park manager Justinus Guntabid said they were taking steps to prevent this case from recurring.

Source: The Star

Malaysia: Calls to restrict fishing in Sabah marine park after picture of dead shark surfaces

By Muguntan Vanar, 6th February 2016;

A picture of a Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) killed by fishing nets within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Park has sparked calls for immediate action to restrict fishing within the marine park.

In describing the incident as “appalling”, Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA) president Aderick Chong said action must be taken against those fishing in the protected area as it is an offence under the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Enactment 1984.

He said that first-time offenders could be imprisoned one year or fined not exceeding RM20,000 or both while repeat offenders could face double the fine or jail or both.

“It is disheartening to see these pictures of dead sharks that must have struggled for their lives when they were caught in these nets,” Chong said in a statement.

“Sharks’ natural slow growth rate will further diminish the already threatened shark populations in Malaysia. Not only will it create an imbalance in our marine ecosystem, shark deaths result in a revenue loss to the country,” Chong added.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Manager Justinus Guntabid said that they were working to prevent the issue from recurring.

Chong thanked Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures for highlighting the issue and its immediate steps to work with Sabah Parks to clear the fishing nets discovered in the marine park,

“The result of this active collaboration has resulted in releasing live creatures including sharks and rays. We are also pleased to hear that the net from this incident has been completely removed,” said Chong whose association is spearheading a campaign to ban shark hunting and finning in Sabah.

He hoped that preventive measures are implemented through joint surveillance by the dive centres, Sabah Fisheries & Fishing Trawlers Association, as well as Sabah Parks, to combat the destructive consequences of illegal fishing activities in Sabah.

A scientific study of sharks in the Semporna region carried out by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in 2012 valued a single living shark in Sabah’s waters at US$815,000 to Sabah in terms of tourism revenue, compared with US$100 for its fins.

“Considering AIMS’ recent survey, a total of three dead sharks would be equivalent to a loss of approximately US$2.5 million to Sabah,” Chong added.

Source: The Star

Malaysia: Calls to restrict fishing in Sabah marine park after picture of dead shark surfaces

Richard was diving with some old friends James & Ev recently & the dive turned into a mass attack on a very tricky & sadly dstructive net but we are delighted to say we got it all 🙂

The illegally discarded net was snagged on the reef at one of our favourite Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) dive sites.

Multiple juvenile sharks were entangled & needlessly perrished but we did manage to release some live marine life.

The current was running which made the removal exhausting but fortunately our divers (all instructors) joined in so we finally managed to bring it all up.

Divers please carry a knife & remove marine debris whenever you can but remember please take care and stay with your buddy as entanglement can be a real safety issue!

Big thanks to Nunuk James Matthews & Evelyn V Matthews for their help 🙂

Source: Richard Swann Facebook

The Blacktip Reef Sharks, a Blue-spotted Fantail Ray and various species of crabs were found trapped yesterday in gillnets laid out at the island.
Photo: Vincent Choo

13 young sharks found dead in fishing nets at Lazarus Island
17th August 2015;

Thirteen juvenile Blacktip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) were found dead yesterday in three fishing nets at Lazarus Island, south of Singapore.

More than 30 crabs of various species, some fish and a Blue-spotted Fantail Ray (Taeniura lymma) were also found in the gillnets. Several crabs were able to survive after they were disentangled and released by those who found them.

Marine enthusiast Rene Ong, who discovered the casualties, said she was out on a regular intertidal trip when she saw the nets.

They had apparently been laid out overnight by someone who had booked a chalet on St John’s Island, which is connected to Lazarus Island by a link bridge.

“When I tried to remove the nets, the guys who placed them there came back. They were apologetic about the kill, but the damage was done,” said Ms Ong, who spent about four hours disentangling the live crabs from the nets. Joining her in her efforts were staff and a student from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

She added: “They wanted the nets back, so I could not just cut the nets and release the animals. Thankfully, they agreed to let me have the Sharks, and to release any catch that they couldn’t eat.”

The Shark carcasses are being stored in a freezer at the St John’s Island Marine Laboratory – part of the NUS Tropical Marine Science Institute. They will be passed to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum for analysis.

Dr Tan Heok Hui, a fish expert from the museum, told The Straits Times that some Sharks need to move in order to breathe. “Blacktip Reef Sharks are one of those that need to move constantly,” he said.

“From the photo, (the dead sharks) all appear to be of the same cohort, as they are all around the same size. Some could even be siblings,” he noted.

The find, although unfortunate, shows that Singapore’s waters are thriving with marine life.

Mr Stephen Beng from the Marine Conservation Group of the Nature Society (Singapore) said the presence of apex predators, such as Sharks, is a good indicator of a healthy reef.

He said that, since he first started diving here more than 25 years ago, Blacktip Reef Sharks and bottom-dwelling Bamboo Sharks (Chiloscyllium sp.) have been sighted at Singapore’s reefs.

He noted that, now, with a sanctuary in the form of the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, their populations are expected to grow.

Added Mr Beng, who runs the Sea Hounds dive centre: “Gillnetting on shallow reef flats not only wipes out fish, but also physically damages the reefs. The relevant agencies should regulate recreational fishermen to ensure that they do not damage our reefs.

"While our Government tries its best to balance development with environmental sustainability, we can do our part by… educating fishermen about practices that put pressure on our limited reef resources.”

Source: The Straits Times

One of 13 Blacktip Reef Sharks that was found caught in drift nets at Lazarus Island on Sunday, Aug 16, 2015.
Photo: St. John’s Island Marine Laboratory

More than 10 Blacktip Reef Sharks, 30 crabs found in fishing nets at Lazarus Island
By Audrey Tan, 16th August 2015;

Thirteen Blacktip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) and more than 30 crabs of various species were found in three fishing nets on Lazarus Island, located south of the Republic, on Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, all the Sharks caught in the gillnets were dead, although a number of crabs managed to survive after they were disentangled and released by the people who found them.

The St John’s Island Marine Laboratory said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning that the Shark carcasses are being stored in its freezer and will be passed to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum for analysis.

The lab, which is part of the National University of Singapore’s Tropical Marine Science Institute, also called for responsible fishing.

Replying to one of the comments on the post, the institute said that the fishermen who laid the nets “were remorseful and not defensive when talked to about the destructive effects of (the) nets”.

The page also noted in a comment: “They (the fishermen) even helped to bring the nets to land. Nobody want this to happen. Let’s continue to remind each other on using our nature areas responsibly.”

Gillnets are nets typically made of monofilament or multifilament nylon that hang in the water column. According to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the mesh sizes are designed to allow fish to get only their head through the netting, but not their body. The fish’s gills then get caught in the mesh as the fish tries to back out of the net.

Dr Tan Heok Hui, a fish expert from the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, told The Straits Times that some Sharks need to move in order to respire. “Blacktip Reef Sharks are one of those that need to move constantly,” he said.

“From the photo, (the dead Sharks) all appear to be of the same cohort as they are all around the same size. Some could even be siblings,” he said.

The Sharks that were found dead are likely to have been juveniles.

Source: The Straits Times

This gravid Black-tipped Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) was caught by hook and line in Calatagan, Batangas yesterday. Upon slaughter, six shark pups were revealed. The pups were released immediately to the sea but a tragic end for the mother shark.

Source: Jessie Delos Reyes Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

A member of the public very kindly sent me this photo of a dead Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus). He found 4 dead ones about 30 metres apart in the lagoon at Pulau Hantu. They are juveniles as they were shorter than an adult person’s arm. Given their proximity to each other and the unlikely scenario that they were stranded when the tide receded, I suspect they were caught in drift nets laid by fisherman. This has been a constant problem in Singapore as fisherman tend to lay their nets indiscriminately in the lagoon areas of our Southern Islands. Pulau Semakau is also a favourite of fishermen and due to the indiscriminate nature of drift nets, many marine life which are of no interest to the fishermen also get caught, such as sharks, turtles, horseshoe crabs (F. Limulidae), reef fish, Blue-spotted Fantail Rays (Taeniura lymma) and so on.

Source: Singapore Reef Watch Facebook, via Rick Tan