LAHAD DATU: Sabah’s marine life is being threatened and may be driven to extinction as a result of irresponsible fish bombing activities and dumping at sea, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said Sunday.
She said the impact of fish bombing activities caused coral reef degradation, and a recent post mortem carried out by the State’s Department of Wildlife on dead whales in the area found that their stomachs were filled with plastic materials from garbage that was dumped into the sea.
“Stop throwing rubbish everywhere because the habit creates a negative impact on the State’s marine bio diversity,” said Liew, who is also the State’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister. She said this in her speech read by Assistant Minister Assaffal P Alian at the State-level World Wildlife Day celebration here, adding that the community could play an active role in helping Sabah combat crime against wildlife both on land and at sea.
She said tourism mainly from its natural environment sites brought the State its highest revenue at RM7.25 billion and close to 3.9 million tourists.
Liew added that in line with the State Government’s objectives in making Sabah a leader in nature tourism, there had been initiatives to create “protected areas” in Sabah.
“They include Taman Kinabalu, Taman Bukit Tawau, Imbak Canyon, Maliau Basin and Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Reserve. The Government has also gazetted marine parks to protect its wildlife and environment such as Taman Tun Mustapha, Tun Sakaran Park and Turtle Island,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Sabah Government takes a serious view of illegal wildlife trade, including the sale of exotic meats on social media sites.
Assaffal said to address the issue, the Sabah Wildlife Department should be aggressive and impose strict action and proper penalties on individuals found guilty of being involved in such activities.
“Enforce regulations, impose penalties (sufficient) so that individuals found guilty have no choice and let the law be firmly applied on these offenders,” said Assaffal.
According Assaffal, the Government does not prevent wildlife-related transactions online but there is a need to seek advice and laws and regulations should be adhered to.