A picture post on the WetPixel forum showing shark finning on Mabul Island sparked an outcry from the diving community and a flurry of emails to the Sabah Department of Fisheries.
Enquiries regarding the forum thread made the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister sit up and take note.
In a SMS reply to enquiries, picked up by the Daily Express on Saturday, The Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, acknowledged the influential power of nature lovers and how their actions could influence the tourism industry of Sabah.
The Minister said he would call for an investigation of the alleged shark finning, as well as whale processing. He also said his officials would be instructed to underscore the Ministry’s stand to the District Officer in Semporna and highlight his deep concern about these alleged controversial activities in Mabul.
In the message the Minister added “we need to be sensitive to the global views to protect our tourism industry if we want to continue attracting more foreign visitors to Sabah, especially from the high-end markets. A small mistake or even inaction could have a major repercussion on the industry.”
There has been much controversy around Sipadan recently, including a proposed resort and oceanarium development on Mabul, of which an opposition group on Facebook has garnered nearly 4,000 members.
But it’s good to know that Sabah’s Tourism Ministry takes the value of it’s eco-treasures seriously – a boon to those who want to dive the treasures of Sipadan.