”We suspect that much of the live reef fish that are traded through Kudat probably come from southern Palawan in the Philippines. Sabah appears to be a hub for live reef fish trade in the region. Government initiatives such as the Sulu-Sulawsei Marine Ecoregion and the Coral Triangle Initiative have recognized the importance of managing the transboundary nature of this trade” said Ken Kassem, Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Manager for WWF-Malaysia.
Dato' Dr. Dionysius S.K. Sharma D.P.M.P., Executive Director/CEO, WWF-Malaysia meanwhile separately expressed hope that the Department of Fisheries Malaysia will also proactively take the lead in pushing for better management and protection of other marine ecosystems for fish resources and other endangered marine animals.
Overall, not only are many of Malaysia's natural habitats and marine ecosystems degraded or destroyed but fish stocks have also declined substantially. In some areas the declines have been as high as 95%. Today less than 0.5% of Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters are gazetted as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and these cover mainly offshore islands. WWF-Malaysia would like to see a much higher percentage of the EEZ covered by MPAs to enable fish stocks recovery from the current overfished status.
Links to more
- Seagrass of great value The Star 1 Jan 09
- Response from the Department of Fisheries Malaysia The Star 21 Jan 09
- Seahorses in Johor under threat Ahmad Fairuz, The New Straits Times 8 Nov 08;
- WWF: Philippines dealers to cut reef fish exports Yahoo News 26 Feb 09;