Think that sharks don’t end up in our Sarawak dishes?
KOTA SAMARAHAN: Sharks population could not be saved by not consuming its fins alone, as this part of the world, nothing is wasted once caught.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Science and Resource Technology lecturer, who is also a marine life expert Dr Aazani Mujahid said this, adding that shark meat is available in the market and even served as a condiment in Sarawak’s kolo mee dish.
“You can always see fresh sharks at the fish market, dried sharks and even salted shark meat.
“So do you think that by not consuming its fins will help to preserve the shark population in the ocean? I beg to differ,” said Aazani in a Unimas press release.
Aazani was referring to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature-Malaysia #myfinmylife campaign, which aims to reverse the present scenario of high shark fin consumptions in Malaysia by engaging the public and business to unanimously pledge not to consume shark fin soup and products.
Its aim includes sensitising 20,000 restaurants to phase out shark-fin soup from menu, engaging one million Malaysians to support the call for no sharks fin soup and to immediately commit 500 businesses to remove shark fin soup from its menu.
There are at least 63 species of sharks found in Sarawak waters including the Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus Melanopterus), Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon Obsus) and Tawny Nurse Shark (Nebrius Ferrugineus), which are commonly sighted.
“Tawny Nurse Sharks are the ones we commonly see in the market. These sharks are common inshore bottom-dwelling species found in tropical waters like Malaysia and they are very vulnerable these days.
“Maybe they would sell the fins to the highest bidder, but I believe most of these sharks would end up in someone’s dish. And it does not need to be in a restaurant,” said Aazani.
Aazani added that a holistic approach should be catered to different regions because of the cultural differences and taking account into local norms would help improve the effort.
“To be fair to the fishing community, they may not hunt for sharks, but these sharks could be among those fishes entangled in their nets.
“And for any fisherman, a catch is always a catch, regardless of the species,” she added.