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Asia Newswire

Malaysian Dive Operators Issue Statement On Sipadan Reef Disaster; Praise for 'Infrastructure' Effort
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia - May 23, 2006 22:10 EST

In the wake of a construction accident that destroyed part of a reef on Sipadan Island, Malaysian dive operators have issued a statement in support of the Malaysian state’s effort to improve the island’s infrastructure. This statement follows an immense...
 
Report: Sipadan Reef 'Probably Lost Forever' After Construction Barge Grounding; All Construction Halted
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysai - May 22, 2006 21:38 EST

Andrea Ferrari, who alerted the diving world to the damage to Sipadan’s corals, said he was taken aback but pleased by the effect his blog has had. But he is saddened that the reef may never recover. Italians Andrea and Anthonella...
 
Malaysian Minister Threatens to Close Sipadan to Diving in Response to 'Exaggerated' Damage Claims
Koto Kinabalu, Malaysia - May 18, 2006 22:11 EST

Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat Thursday said that he was seriously considering closing Sipadan Island if people were so concerned about the environmental damage to the island and its surrounding areas of late. It was reported...
 
Report: Barge That Destroyed Sipadan Coral Part of New Scuba Tourism Project; National Icon 'Damaged'
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia - May 18, 2006 20:59 EST

The giant barge that apparently beached and scraped off pristine corals at Sipadan's famous Dropoff Point was bringing in materials and heavy equipment to build a RM5 million tourism facility comprising a restaurant-cum-clubhouse, scuba shop, office and staff quarters, sources...
 
Report: Sipadan Marine Paradise Destroyed by Grounded Construction Barge
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia - May 17, 2006 21:58 EST

A giant barge has apparently flattened corals at Sipadan's legendary Dropoff Point inflicting "incalculable" damage, according to a report containing pictures of what are believed to be the damaged section posted on the Internet by Fins Magazine Associate editors Andrea...
 
Small Whale Stoned to Death in Manila Harbor After Being Mistaken for a Shark
Manila, The Philippines - May 16, 2006 21:55 EST

A small whale stranded Tuesday in the polluted shallow waters of Manila Bay died after seaside residents, who mistook it for a shark, pelted the marine mammal with rocks. Local residents in a fishing "Floating Village" in suburban Paranaque City said...
 
Thai Fishermen Break Ranks, Vow to Resume Hunt of Endangered Mekong Catfish; 'We Need to Make A Living'
Chang Rai, Thailand - May 4, 2006 17:40 EST

Two fishermen who joined in a landmark promise to help preserve the endangered giant catfish in the Mekong river and not catch them any more have returned to the hunt. ''We need to make a living,'' said Ban Hat Krai...
 
German, French Diver Accused of Looting Shipwreck In Indonesia Freed on Bond; '100% Innocent'
Jakarta, Indonesia - Apr 13, 2006 19:32 EST

Police have released German and French divers accused of looting Indonesian shipwreck after their employers promised to pay Rp 700 million (US$77,777.78) bond should they run away or destroy evidence. Lawyer of the two divers Yudhistira said that his clients were...
 
Malaysia Bans Flippers in Marine Parks
Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia - Apr 5, 2006 22:34 EST

The use of flippers by snorkellers is to be banned at all marine parks in Malaysia. Resort operators have been given one week to notify their guests of the directive. The move follows a recommendation from the Fisheries Department that the use...
 
French Diver Condems Indonesia Over Detention in Archeological Salvage Operation; 'Incomprehensible and Scandalous'
Jakarta, Indonesia - Mar 28, 2006 20:03 EST

A French professional diver on Monday condemned Indonesian authorities for detaining him over allegedly taking part in what they say was an illegal archeological salvage operation. "It is incomprehensible and scandalous. It concerns disrespect of freedom and of human rights," Jean-Paul...
 
British Invester Wants to Build Giant Aquarium in Bali
Denpansar, Bali - Mar 22, 2006 19:07 EST

British investor Newman Bio Marine Pte Ltd wanted to build a giant aquarium in popular tourist resort in Sanur area on Bali Island, a British businesswoman said. The company wished to make a large aquarium in Sanur since the area`s underwater...
 
Four Scuba Divers Adrift Over 48 Hours in the Philippines after Boat Breaks Down; SOS Ignored
Panglao, The Philippines - Mar 22, 2006 19:02 EST

Four scuba divers, three of which are foreigners, including three pumboat crew were rescued after the pumpboat they were riding developed engine trouble mid-sea between Bohol and Camiguin islands. Elmer Loreno, boat captain, from Sunrise, Tawala, Panglao told the Chronicle during...
 
13-year old Deaf and Dumb Boy Becomes India's Youngest Scuba Diver
Port Blair, India - Mar 22, 2006 18:46 EST

A 13-year old deaf and dumb boy from Andaman and Nicobar islands has become India's youngest scuba diver. Gaurav Baidya became the youngest scuba diver when he received the Pacific Area Diving Institute (PADI) certificate, the international scuba body certificate, after...
 
Seoul Museum Buys Shark in Formaldehyde for $4m; 'The Wrath of God'
Seoul, South Korea - Mar 19, 2006 19:29 EST

The Samsung Museum in Seoul has bought Damien Hirst’s The Wrath of God (2005), a new version of the artist’s shark suspended in formaldehyde, for $4m from the Galeria Hilario Galguera in Mexico City. The Korean corporate museum has also...
 
Report: Filipino Fishermen Having a Blast, Scaring Whales, Destroying Coral
Babuyan Islands, The Philippines - Mar 19, 2006 19:04 EST

Fishermen in the once tranquil Babuyan Islands in Cagayan province are literally having a blast. Local fishermen, citing poor catch in recent months, have resorted to dynamite blasting to salvage metal from shipwrecks surrounding the islands, according to the World Wildlife...
 
Indonesian Navy Seizes Ship Containing Artifacts Looted from Ancient Shipwrecks
Jakarta, Indonesia - Mar 13, 2006 19:59 EST

The Navy says it seized a ship loaded with pottery artifacts in waters near the Thousand Islands on Saturday. This follows last week's seizure of four ships loaded with similar artifacts in the South China Sea and the arrest of two...
 
Geologist: 'Mini tsunami' likely along Thai coast in the next 50 years
Bangkok, Thailand - Mar 13, 2006 19:46 EST

Geologists have forecast that Thailand's Andaman coast could face a "mini tsunami" in the next 50 years, and warned that the area's "improper" land use could put local residences in real danger if a worse-case scenario occurs. The magnitude of the...
 
$500 for Fins: Tiger Shark Pregnant with 40 Young Snared, Slaughtered by Fisherman off Brunei
Jerudong, Brunei - Mar 3, 2006 18:39 EST

It was the catch of the day for two Indonesian fishermen, Muji and Kastan, when they hauled back a 500-kilogramme pregnant Tiger Shark to Jerudong shore from Champion 7. The large and ferocious warm-water shark with stripped body measured at 14...
 
Beluga Whale 'Aliya' Learns to Blow Bubble Rings at Japanese Aquarium
Hamada City, Japan - Feb 26, 2006 19:19 EST

A Beluga whale at an aquarium in Japan has been wowing spectators with her new trick, blowing bubbles. The whale, named Allya by the Russian researcher who captured her, has been charming the crowds by aiming the bubbles at spectators as...
 
Brother, Sister Plan Record Swim Across Malaysian Strait, 'God Willing'
Lumut, Malaysia - Feb 24, 2006 18:00 EST

Nine-year-old Salman Ali Shariati Abdul Halim and his sister, Zahra Ma'soumah, 13, are confident of establishing a record by swimming a distance of 8.9 kilometres from Pangkor Island to Lumut in about four hours on Sunday. The siblings said they did...
 
Midnight in the Marianas: Ancient Mystery Surrounding the Spawing Site of Japanese Eels Solved
Tokyo, Japan - Feb 22, 2006 18:55 EST

An ancient mystery surrounding the Japanese eel, a species as prized by fishermen for its high price as it is by chefs for its delicate flesh, has been explained at last. Like its Atlantic cousins, the Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) matures...
 
New Coral Reef Discovered off Thai Coast; 'The Reef Needs Special Protection'
Bangkok, Thailand - Feb 22, 2006 18:29 EST

A new coral reef discovered in Phang Nga’s Tai Muang area covers some four square kilometres and accounts for about 5 per cent of all the coral areas in the Andaman Sea. Lying around five kilometres offshore are more than 30...
 
Bangkok Mall Attraction Lets You Swim with the Sharks; 'The Ultimate Dive with the Ultimate Predator'
Bangkok, Thailand - Feb 21, 2006 17:52 EST

Forget film festivals and Armani suits: no shopping complex can compete with Siam Paragon’s latest attraction, “The Ultimate Dive with the Ultimate Predator,” which lets those with nerves of steel dive into an aquarium full of sharks. The maiden voyage...
 
Kiwi Greens: 'Whales are not dog tucker!'; Japan's scientific research program a 'fallacy'
Wellington, New Zealand - Feb 19, 2006 18:01 EST

An admission by the Japanese whaling institute that whale meat is ending up in that nation's pet food bowls is just one more reason that the barbaric slaughter must be banned, the Green Party says. "Whales are not dog tucker! New...
 
Fish skin shoes set to make a splash; 'Fish skin is another piece of leather'
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Feb 14, 2006 19:04 EST

This is not another “fishy” tale. Newly-opened shoe boutique Zendalia is introducing shoes, bags, wallets and key chains, made of tilapia fish skin. With the natural scale pattern in copious colours, these products are simply irresistible. “Fish skin is another piece of...
 
Sunken Treasure Looters Posing as Scuba Divers in Malaysia
Mersing, Malaysia - Feb 11, 2006 18:10 EST

Looters posing as scuba-divers are scouring the waters of Mersing looking for sunken treasure. They have managed to carry away artifacts from many shipwrecks in the area, University Kebangsaan Malaysia archaeologist Prof Nik Hassan Suhaimi told The New Straits Times. He said...
 
Excess whale meat being fed to school children in Japan; 'whale meat tastes horrible'
Tokyo, Japan - Feb 9, 2006 18:58 EST

Japan has enticed children with whale burger school lunches, sung the praises of the red meat in colorful pamphlets, and declared whale hunting "a national heritage." The result is an unprecedented glut of whale meat. Prices — once about $15 a...
 
Deaths Push Rare Asia DolphinsNearer to Extinction; 'This is Terrible News'
Gland, Switzerland - Feb 3, 2006 19:16 EST

The death of ten Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River in Cambodia is raising serious concerns about the survival of this already critically endangered population, warns WWF. The global conservation organization estimates that there are only 80–100 Irrawaddy dolphins left in...
 
Rare Megamouth Shark Netted in the Philippines; Only 35th Recorded Specimen in the World
Bayawan City, The Philippines - Jan 27, 2006 15:35 EST

Hundreds of residents of Bayawan City in southern Oriental Negros woke up yesterday to the sight of the biggest fish they ever saw following the accidental capture by fishermen of a rare five-meter megamouth shark. The shark, which was estimated to...
 
Cargo Ship Runs Aground at Philippines' Apo Reef National Park
Apo Island, Philippines - Jan 26, 2006 00:00 EST

STRONG WINDS and rains caused by a low pressure area drove a Manila-bound Indonesian vessel from Malaysia to run aground at the Apo Reef Natural Park, a protected area in Occidental Mindoro. The 2,003-ton M/V Marthen hit parts of the Apo...
 
Officials: Fish Fed Feces, Dead Pigs at Malaysian Catfish Farm
Batu Gajah, Malaysia - Jan 18, 2006 00:00 EST

A raiding government team visiting a fish farm made a horrific discovery when they found that faeces and carcasses were being fed to the popular ikan patin (silver catfish). The Perak religious department made the disgusting discovery when it raided the...
 
Chinese Find Underwater 'Lost City' in Lake; 'An Extensive Series of Structures'
Yunnan Province, China - Jan 16, 2006 00:00 EST

China researchers are reporting the discovery of Mayan pyramid-like buildings under Fuxian Lake in China’s Yunnan province. "Gengwei, a professional diver, told reporters on December 19th, 2005, that images from sonar scans showed that a large relic covering at least 2.4...
 
Group: Overfishing More Destructive than Tsunami, Earthquake to Indonesian Reefs
Los Angeles, California - Jan 13, 2006 00:00 EST

Overfishing and destructive methods, such as cyanide and blast fishing, continue to threaten the health of coral reefs in Aceh, the epicenter of the fourth largest earthquake in history, according to a comprehensive report released today by Reef Check, the...
 
Japan says clashes at sea could reduce whale catch
Tokyo, Japan - Jan 12, 2006 00:00 EST

Clashes at sea with two environmental groups will not bring Japan's whaling programme to a halt but could reduce the size of the catch, a senior official at the Fisheries Ministry said on Thursday. The confrontations with Greenpeace and the more...
 
Chinese treasure ship to reveal its secrets after 800 years
Beijing, China - Jan 4, 2006 00:00 EST

Stormy waves cut short the voyage of the Chinese merchant vessel as it left a southern port laden with exquisite porcelain 800 years ago to sell its wares along the ancient trade route known as the Marine Silk Road. Now Chinese...
 
Singapore adventurer breaks Guinness World Record for scuba dive
Singapore - Dec 25, 2005 00:00 EST

Singapore adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow broke the Guinness World Record for the longest scuba dive on Sunday by staying underwater for 220 hours, Channel NewsAsia reported Sunday night. Khoo went into a special mineral water tank on December 16 to challenge...
 
Chinese City to Set Up Breeding Base of Rare Dolphin; 'Pandas of the Ocean'
Xiamen, China - Dec 19, 2005 00:00 EST

Xiamen in east China's Fujian Province is planning to set up an artificial breeding base of the Chinese white dolphin to further protect the rare species. The city will set aside a sea area for Chinese white dolphins to live and...
 
Koa Tao Fears Too Much Diving May Bring a Bad Thing
Kao Tao, Thailand - Dec 19, 2005 00:00 EST

While Koh Samui is well-paved and packed with five-star resorts, and Koh Phangan turns into an international frat party during its full-moon festivities, neighboring Koh Tao is still hanging on to its place slightly off the map – but barely. In...
 
Singapore adventurer attempts world record longest scuba dive
Singapore - Dec 16, 2005 00:00 EST

Singapore adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow begins his bid for the Guinness World Record's longest scuba dive on Friday. The current record of 212 hours 30 minutes was set in 1986. Khoo literally went underwater at 3.34pm in a special mineral water tank...
 
Scientists Shocked to Find 'Dead Zone' at Epicenter of Tsunami's Earthquake
London, England - Dec 13, 2005 00:00 EST

A "DEAD zone" devoid of life has been discovered at the epicentre of last year's tsunami four kilometres beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean. Scientists taking part in a worldwide marine survey made an 11-hour dive at the site five...
 

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