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Last Seen in 1859, Rare Borneo Shark Spotted Again in Malaysia; New Species of Ray, Crab ID'd

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KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia -- A rare and endangered shark, not scientifically reported for more than a century, is among marine creatures that have been discovered by University Malaysia Sabah researchers.

UMS vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin said that apart from the Borneo shark, scientifically known Carcharhinus borneensis, the university’s researchers have also discovered a new species of crab and ray fish.

The university’s Borneo Marine Research Institute director Prof Dr Saleem Mustafa said the discoveries reflected the diversity of marine life in the waters around the world’s third largest island.

Dutch scientist Dr Pieter Bleeker first recorded the Borneo shark in the Sabah east coast district of Sandakan in 1859, Dr Saleem said in a press statement.

There had not been any further record of it until a recent survey of fishery resources along the coastal areas of Sabah and Sarawak, he said.

The Borneo shark, brown on the top half of the body and white on the belly half, is said to reach lengths of up to 2m.

It is also said to be a rare viviparous species, which gives birth to living offspring.

On the new crab species, Dr Saleem said UMS researchers found it at a swamp in Likas barely 2km from the city centre in 2005.

In a related development, UMS vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin warned that sharks could eventually be listed as extinct, at least in the state.

The problem was due to the harvesting of fins from sharks, demand for which continued unabated, he said.

“There is now an over-harvesting of sharks,” Dr Mohd Noh said, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Sabah Fisheries De-partment, UMS and the Fishermen’s Development Cooperative (Ko-Nelayan).

The memorandum was for the development of aquaculture acti-vities by Ko-Nelayan, based on UMS research efforts.

Dr Mohd Noh said UMS marine researchers were ready to assist the state authorities in formulating conservation measures for sharks and other threatened animals such as turtles.

State Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail said enforcement was being stepped up to catch those illegally harvesting sharks for their fins.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

5 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

I think sharks are so cool because there's so much you can learn about them. I would love to see a real live shark one day. In fact, i'm supposably getting a baby shark for my b-day.
   comment# 1   - Megan · Vidalia · Aug 4, 2007 @ 8:36pm

It's encouraging to see an Asian Government doing something positive for the environment. I fear it is too little too late. Any restaurant still serving Shark Fin soup should be raised to the ground. Ignorant morons. Megan, you can swim with Whale sharks quite safely, I've had the privilege. They are huge, beautiful, gentle creatures. Don't wait too long though. They are being brutally murdered for their fins too. South East Asia is becoming an environmental disaster. Forests are being decimated, oceans are plundered and polluted. I hope the few who are starting to wake up become many and that the people of the region can clean up their act and their back yard.
   comment# 2   - Ted · Perth, Western Australia · Jan 5, 2008 @ 8:27pm

I think sharks are amazing
   comment# 3   - STOGIE · HAMILTON NEW ZEALAND · Mar 8, 2010 @ 1:19pm

Yes, sharks are very cool. As for myself, I found myself swimming with them once when I didn't intend to be. As I was watching them feed on a turtle, I was thinking that it was very cool...and that the boat was entirely too far away.
   comment# 4   - Mike · Huntsville USA · May 5, 2010 @ 8:47pm

   comment# 5   - jade · CHARSTON, WV · Apr 29, 2011 @ 5:51pm
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