PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - A national action plan to include a freeze on shark fishing should be implemented immediately by Malaysia to check overfishing as part of efforts to conserve the marine eco-system, said WWF-Malaysia.
Making the call on the back of reports that Malaysia ranks among the top 10 in the global shark trade, it said the national action plan for all states in the country was inevitable and was the best option.
WWF-Malaysia executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the action plan should include implementation of regulations for the export of shark parts as well as monitoring and recording catches.
He said there was a need to have more knowledge on the status of shark populations in Malaysia.
"This is to establish that the catch data is accurate to ensure sustainability of harvest from the sea,'' he said in urging all Malaysians to stop consuming sharks, both fins and meat, by issuing the sustainable seafood guide.
He said the Sabah Government wanted to ban shark hunting and finning under its wildlife conservation laws where offenders could be jailed up to three years or fined RM30,000 (S$11,500).
However, the state needed to have the same legal provision to be included in the federal Fisheries Act 1985, draft amendments for which were submitted to the Government last year.
"WWF-Malaysia urges the Government to review and consider the (Sabah) draft amendments, which include a moratorium on shark fishing and the promotion of alternative livelihood for affected shark fishers or communities.