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Deputy Health Minister against sharks fin soup in KK

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Deputy Health Minister against sharks fin soup in KK

Post Number:#1  Postby timyang » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:19 am

Kota Kinabalu: A joint effort to change the mindset of the people into dropping shark fins soup from the menu by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Tanjung Aru, the Green Connection Aquarium and Science Discovery Centre received official backing from Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin.

"I fully support the noble effort of JCI Tanjung Aru in initiating this awareness campaign.

I am working with this concerned group as a team," she said, as she led 60 pupils of SK Tanaki, Papar, in shouting "No to Shark Fins".

Rosnah sponsored the children's school uniforms and transport expenses to the Green Connection centre at Mile 2Ã, Jalan Tuaran, Saturday.

The campaign's Project Chairperson, Aderick Chong, said the aims were to create awareness on the need to protect sharks and discourage people from eating shark fins soup.

"We are also calling on the relevant authorities to include sharks in the Protected Species List in the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972.

After all, dolphins and other marine species are included but not sharks," he said.

Rosnah noted that Malaysia has laws to protect endangered marine life, including sharks. These laws constitute the Fisheries Regulations (Control of Endangered Fish Species) 1999, which was amended in 2008.

"Sharks are listed as endangered fish species. As such, if an offence has been committed in relation to sharks, then appropriate action can be taken by the relevant authorities. It is a matter of enforcing the law," she said after launching the "Say No to Shark Fins" Awareness Programme.

Rosnah, who is Member of Parliament for Papar, drew attention to the National Plan of Action on Management and Conservation of Sharks formulated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Agro-based Industry in 2006.

"The Plan was to manage the landing of sharks and shark-related products as well as implement conservation itself. Of course, it has to be enforced and everybody concerned has to play a role."

Rosnah said sharks are also included in the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Lists of Threatened Species.

"In fact, sharks now represent the largest number of threatened marine animals on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species." Rosnah commended JCI Tanjung Aru for its initiative.

"Awareness must begin from young. This is a good start but such awareness must also prevail among the enforcement agencies.

It has to be widespread. If only one party is involved in shark conservation efforts, it will not produce the desired results," she said.

It was reported that up to 100 million sharks are slaughtered each year to satisfy the global demand for shark fins soup, considered an Asian delicacy.

Last year, the United Nations (UN) released a report stating that if the mass harvest of sharks continues, global shark populations will disappear in the next 10 to 20 years.

Rosnah was taken on a guided conservation tour by Green Connection's Prof Steve Oakley who is a scientist, marine biologist, environmentalist and diver. He said since 1998, the Green Connection has been planting new coral reefs to recover from damage in the past.

"We have been planting reefs in Kudat and Sepanggar.

Our current count is that we have planted 11,000 baby corals (nurtured at the Green Connection's coral planting facility).

"But in some of the areas we have replanted, it's impossible to tell because in 10 years, it will have grown to be a completely new reef.

And it's difficult to distinguish that this was replanted and not natural," he explained.

JCI Tanjung Aru President Evonne Chong said the programme is in line with the chapter's "Heart to Heart" programme as a community service project targeted at schoolchildren for a start.

"As a non-governmental organisation, we feel it is our social obligation to play an active role to complement the Government's effort in conserving the shark population," she said. The activity at the Green Connection was partly funded by JCI Luyang headed by Annie Liew.

(JCI Luyang's formation was initiated and sponsored by JCI Tanjung Aru at the end of last year).

Earlier, the children attended a talk on marine life conservation by the Green Connection's marine biologist Eric Yu. His role is to educate the public, including school children, in efforts to promote appreciation and conservation of marine life, especially the endangered species.

"We also have to bring coral reefs to our conservation centre to show the importance of conserving them. People who don't go diving or snorkelling won't know how much is left of the reefs in Sabah waters."

The aquarium now has five species of the shark family - Black Tip Reef Shark, Guitarshark, Leopard Stingray, Batfish and Fan Tail Shark.

According to Yu, it was a mammoth task to catch these sharks from their natural habitat in Sabah waters and bring them to the Green Connection's Aquarium and Science Discovery Centre.

"First of all, they are dwindling in numbers due to over-fishing," he said.

The Black Tip Reef Shark and Guitarshark were caught off Pulau Mengalun (on the West Coast of Sabah) while the Fan Tail Shark off Pulau Banggi in the northern Sabah.

"If you happen to step on the leopard stingray, its sting will become upright by 90 degrees as a self-defence mechanism," he said.

The kids were thrilled to watch the shark feeding exercise carried out inside the aquarium by two divers.

Feeding time is twice a day at 11.30am and 4pm.
Topic author

Re: Deputy Health Minister against sharks fin soup in KK

Post Number:#2  Postby xkirkie » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:26 pm

Great, they created a new page on fb, ... 1458519587

Keep up the good works...
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