Malaysia has cast its vote against the protection of shark species believed to be at risk of extinction.
The country is one of 20 shark catchers in the world that has failed to do anything to help save the endangered species, Malaysia Kini reported.
Although 18 species of sharks and rays are covered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the animals are not exactly protected as the convention does not impose any bans and only controls trade “to ensure that international trade in sharks and shark-like fish does not drive them to extinction.”
“Many of these countries have no intention of protecting these endangered species,” Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president Meenakshi Raman said, according to World of Buzz. “They must take action to stop the number of sharks from continuing to decline, ensuring that overfishing and shark finning will no longer continue to threaten the threatened species.”
Based on the views of shark experts from Southeast Asia, Malaysia does not concede with CITES’ proposal claiming these types of sharks are only caught unintentionally, adding they are not specifically hunting them down.
Other reasons listed include objections coming from other nations in Southeast Asia and findings from the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), stating these sharks were not suitable for protection as certain criteria were not met.
Sharks protected by CITES are reportedly allowed for consumption in Malaysia as the species are listed as “fish” in the Fisheries Act under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).