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Celebrities Support Sabah Shark Ban Proposal
A proposal for Shark ban in Sabah has gained support of International celebrity Michelle Yeoh, Malaysia’s first and only Astronaut Major Faiz Khaleed, many other Malaysian celebrities and NGOs around the world.
By: Shark Savers
Minister YB Datuk Masidi Manjun, Minister of Culture, Environment and Tourism, is seeking for a prohibition on all forms of shark hunting or shark finning in Sabah. Masidi said 42,000 divers, two-thirds of them foreigners, visited the state last year, bringing in more than RM190 million in revenue. “Tourists come to see the rich variety of marine life in Sabah, and that includes sharks. It makes economic sense for us to protect our sharks,” he added. Masidi also said that it was important to start protecting the marine creature as its population had dwindled to only 20% of its original population. He said that in Sabah, sharks could only be spotted in four areas and if nothing was done, the creature could disappear entirely as had happened in waters off the peninsula.
(Source from The Star dated 9 May 2011, 30 August 2011, 12 October 2011)
A letter of gratitude initiated by Save Our Sharks From A Bowl Of Soup was sent on 12 December 2011 to the Minister in appreciation and support of his bold decision to restrict the shark fin trade next year. The letter was signed by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, Petaling Jaya Mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakima, Datuk Michelle Yeoh and Kirk Lee Founder of Save Our Sharks From A Bowl Of Soup.
Aside from Malaysians the letter was also joined in support by over 50 International NGOs namely Shark Savers, WILDAID, Humane Society International, Project Aware, Hong Kong Shark Foundation and many more including a letter from Governor Benigno R. Fitial, of the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Kirk Lee, founder of Save Our Sharks From a Bowl Of Soup (http://www.sossaveoursharks.com) says ‘The purpose of the letter was to show Sabah how much local Malaysians and NGOs from around the globe appreciate what the Minister is doing and that we all support the Minister’s stand. It is most exciting and promising hearing from the Minister to push a total shark ban in Sabah. We look forward to seeing the ban come to pass and hope after that it will be an example for Peninsula Malaysia to model after.
We also wish to thank Mr Aderick Chong from JCI Tanjung Aru and Professor Steve Oakley from Tropical Research And Conservation Centre (TRACC), our counterparts from Sabah who initiated the meet up with Minister YB Datuk Masidi Manjun to lobby for the shark ban.’
Amber Chia, Founder of Amber Chia Academy says ‘I’m a Sabahan and I fully support the cause. I’m proud of our Minister’s plan to protect the sharks in Sabah waters.
Sharks are very important to our ocean ecosystem because they are the top predators that control the food chain below. We should ensure that our future generation can still enjoy a healthy ocean and be amazed at sea creatures like sharks rather than visit them in Museums. I would love to swim with sharks together with my son when he is grown up one day.
Sharks contain high levels of mercury which is bad for our health especially to expecting mothers because it could pass on to their unborn babies.
Join me, Say No to Shark Fins!’
Patrick Teoh, Radio Deejay, Actor, Author says ‘Why do I support the ban in Sabah? I support the ban on Sharks Fin. Not the ban in Sabah. But I am very glad that Sabah has come out in support of the Shark Ban.’
Daphne Iking, TV Anchor, Journalist says ‘Sharks are misunderstood and seen as vicious animals of the sea, and having been stereotyped and misconstrued in life -- I empathize with them. Sharks being killed mainly for their fins is just a crying shame. I refused to serve shark fin soup for my wedding and didn't care the connotation of being "stingy" on my Big Day. Neither do I eat shark fin soup when served at events.’
Major (Dr) Faiz Khaleed, Malaysian Astronaut, Dental Surgeon says ‘Life has no rewind button and unfortunately time-machine has not been invented yet. As an intelligent species fully capable of protecting, humankind needs to make sure that we don’t have to correct the past, but to do the right thing now. Sharks exist for a reason, and definitely not to be put in a bowl, but to maintain ecological balance...we need to do the right thing.
Matthias Gelber, voted Greenest Person on the Planet 2008 says ‘Sharks are amazing and part of our beautiful biodiversity - to let them die a cruel death for the fins on the table is a crime against the beauty of nature. It needs to be stopped.
Over 73 million sharks will be killed primarily for shark fin soup. Shark finning is the practice of catching a shark, slicing off its fins and dumping the still living shark back into the ocean. Shark fins are tasteless and contain high levels of toxic methyl-mercury.
Sharks kill fewer than 5 humans on average each year. While humans kill 73 million sharks annually.
You are more likely to be killed by a lightning strike, bee sting or defective toaster. The oceans are the most important ecosystem on the planet, containing life that absorbs most of the carbon dioxide, converting them into 70% of the oxygen we breathe.
Destroying shark population is destroying our oceans and our life support system.
The letter goes like this:
GRATITUDE FOR SHARK CONSERVATION EFFORTS
With reference to the above, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for initiating and supporting the move to ban shark harvesting, possession and sales in Sabah – the first of its kind in Asia.
We applaud your efforts in support of shark conservation. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), about a third of open water sharks currently face extinction. This is alarming, as they are keystone species in maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem.
Shark conservation can help to boost the local economy in Sabah, as studies have shown that sharks are worth a lot more to the tourism industry alive rather than dead. Many organisations in Malaysia and the world have documented massive declines in shark populations, therefore a ban on harvesting, possessing and sale of shark is vital in protecting the remaining shark population. Sharks are slow to mature and they produce very few young. The new law will give them a chance to repopulate our ocean again. This will also be a great example to our Asian counterparts in handling of such issues.
It is indeed very reassuring to see the Sabah government working towards a positive change. Many people are passionate about this cause, and we strive to support the State Government with your efforts to completely end shark hunting. We would like all Malaysians to join us and save our sharks from a bowl of soup, by saying NO to shark’s fin.