SEMPORNA, Malaysia - A group of tourists have caught on camera fresh evidence of shark hunting in waters here.
The photograph they took showed dead sharks laid out on a long boat with the tails of at least four hanging over the side.
The sighting comes just days after gory images of alleged shark finning activities in Pulau Mabul were circulated.
Having returned to their boat after a dive off the reef on Ribbon Valley on the south side of Mabul on July 22, the tourists from Sweden said they were disappointed because this was not something they had expected to see on their vacation.
Jonas Neander, who shared the photo with the Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA), said he was upset to see the boat zooming by with dead sharks, so close to the dive haven of Sipadan.
"I couldn't believe it when we came up after the dive and saw the boat with the shark tails clearly hanging over the edge at noon.
"We had followed the online updates about the finning on Mabul - but to see it (dead sharks) with our own eyes was so disappointing, especially given the spectacular biodiversity of these waters which brings us back year after year," said Neander, whose group comprised nine divers.
SSPA, in a statement yesterday, said it was deplorable that divers who visited Sabah, in particular the Semporna region, were witnessing the destruction of sharks.
"It is sad and unfortunate that tourists who are supporting the local economy by diving in Sabah are seeing dead sharks while on holiday.
They are here to appreciate what Sabah has to offer in terms of its biodiversity.
"We have an obligation to ensure that sharks remain in our waters, not just for the economic spin-off but also to ensure the health of the marine ecosystem in which sharks play a vital role as apex predators," the association said.
Protecting sharks would benefit fishermen and the economy while also ensuring the future of Sabah's diverse marine life, SSPA added.
The Sabah government is moving to create shark sanctuaries at all its six marine parks, including Semporna's Tun Sakaran Marine Park, as conservation efforts while pressing for Federal laws to be enacted to ban shark hunting and finning.