Marine mammal legislation in Malaysia

Marine mammals are protected by several laws in Malaysia. On a Federal Governmental level, the relevant legislations include the following:

1. Fisheries Act 1985 (Part VI, Aquatic Animals)

Specifies that no person(s) is to catch, take, harm, harass, or disturb any marine mammals in Malaysian waters, whether deliberately or accidentally. Should an animal accidentally get caught (i.e., as bycatch), the act further specified that the animal, if alive, should be released immediately, and if dead, for the Department of Fisheries Malaysia be informed of the incident and the carcass, if any, shall be disposed of in accordance to the Department’s directions.

2. Fisheries (Control of Endangered Species) Regulation 1999

Similar to the Fisheries Act 1985, the regulation states that no person(s) is to catch, kill, possess, buy, export, import take, harm, harass or disturb any marine mammals in Malaysian waters, either deliberately or accidentally. The regulation further lists the species of marine mammals protected under the regulation.

3. Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Act 2008

The CITES Act 2008 provides regulation on issues regarding wildlife trade. Any person who re-exports or introduces from the sea any scheduled species without a certificate is a punishable offence. Other offences include possession or control of, trading of, and displays to the public of any scheduled species.

Additionally, state-specific laws have also been enacted in Sabah and Sarawak respectively for wildlife management, which include marine mammals, within the State’s territorial waters which are:

4. Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 (Sabah)

Similar to the provisions provided under Fisheries Act 1985 (Part VI, Aquatic Animals) but is only to be applied within the 12 n.m. territorial waters of Sabah.

5. Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998 (Sarawak)

Similar to the provisions provided under Fisheries Act 1985 (Part VI, Aquatic Animals) but is only to be applied within the 12 n.m. territorial waters of Sarawak.