Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Malaysia Shark Fisheries
Fishery  Fact Sheet
Status and trends of sharks fisheries in SouthEast Asia 2004
Malaysia Shark Fisheries
Fact Sheet Citation  
Outcomes from the Study on Shark Fisheries in Southeast Asia: Malaysia
Owned bySoutheast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) – more>>

Location of Malaysia Shark Fisheries

Geographic reference:  Malaysia
Spatial Scale: National
Reference year: 2004
Approach: Fishery Resource

Harvested Resource
Fishery Area: Malaysia

Captured Species: Graceful shark; Borneo shark; Bull shark …  

Fishery Indicators

Harvested Resource
Type of production system: Commercial; Artisanal; Semi-industrial   

Fishery Area
Climatic zone: Tropical.  

Geo References
Six major fish landing sites were selected for sharks sampling; Hutan Melintang and Kuantan on the west coast and east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, respectively, Mukah and Bintulu in the state of Sarawak, Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu on the north-east and west coasts of the state of Sabah, respectively. The states of Sarawak and Sabah are located in north Borneo (Figure 1).

Hutan Melintang: This is one of the major landing area along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The landing sites here are private enterprises with most of the shark landings coming from trawlers.
Kuantan: The landing site sampled is owned by the government and managed by the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM). All sharks landed at this site were caught in Malaysian waters of the South China Sea off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Bintulu: The main landing site is owned by the government and managed by the Bintulu Development Authority in Sarawak. Only trawlers of more than 40 GRT and gillnetters land their shark catches at this site. The fishing areas are from the shore to 100 nautical miles offshore including largepatches of coral reefs and rough grounds. There were also a number of small landing jetties located 2-3 miles upriver that can only be approached during the high tide.
Mukah: Sharks landed are mostly caught by gillnets which operate in coastal areas, less than 30 nautical miles from shore off Mukah, Sarawak. The bottom type is flat to undulating with mud/sand substrates and some areas are interphased with coral reefs.
Sandakan: Fishing areas are from Kudat down to Tambisan in the northern part of Sabah. Landing time for most of the trawlers is around 4 am - 10 am daily.
Kota Kinabalu: The fishing grounds are around the Mengalun Island, Tiga Island and Mantanani Island.

Figure 1: The six landing sites covered during the study
Captured Species
Sharks are caught in fisheries targeting pelagic and demersal marine species.

Chiloscyllium punctatum is the most common shark species caught in Hutan Melintang and Kuantan in Peninsular Malaysia, whereas Scoliodon laticaudus is the most common shark species in Mukah and Bintulu in Sarawak. There were also some shark species that were recorded only in the South China Sea such as C. borneensis and Lamiopsis temmincki.

Table1: Shark species caught from each sampling area in Malaysia






West Sabah

East Sabah


Hutan Melintang


Mukah, Bintulu

Kota  Kinabalu



Alopias sp.






Atelomycterus marmoratus





Carcharhinus amblyrhynchoides



Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos






Carcharhinus borneensis






Carcharhinus brevipinna




Carcharhinus dussumieri




Carcharhinus leucas



Carcharhinus limbatus




Carcharhinus melanopterus






Carcharhinus plumbeus






Carcharhinus sealei




Carcharhinus sorrah


Chiloscyllium griseum






Chiloscyllium hasselti





Chiloscyllium indicum




Chiloscyllium plagiosum





Chiloscyllium punctatum



Galeocerdo cuvier




Hemigaleus microstoma



Hemipristis elongatus





Heterodontus zebra






Lamiopsis temmincki






Loxodon macrorhinus



Mustelus sp.






Rhizoprionodon acutus



Rhizoprionodon oligolinx






Scoliodon laticaudus





Sphyrna lewini


Sphyrna mokarran




Stegostoma fasciatum



Triaenodon obesus




Note: PM = Peninsular Malaysia
Vessel Type
Flag State
Fishing Gear
Fish trawl contributed almost 100% of sharks landed in Hutan Melintang, Kuantan, Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu, while in Bintulu, this gear contributed 61%. However, in Mukah, gill net is the major fishing gear with 88% of all shark landings. Other fishing gears which also landed sharks are long line and purse seine.

Table 2: Fishing gears, vessels, and number of fishers in each landing site

Landing site


Vessel size

Registered vessel

Number of fishers

Hutan Melintang

Fish trawl

Mostly 40-70 GRT




Fish trawl
purse seine

Mostly 40-70 GRT




Fish trawl





gill net

Mostly 10-39.9 GRT




Fish trawl

Mostly 10-69.9 GRT



Kota Kinabalu

Fish trawl

Mostly 10-39.9 GRT




Gillnets and entangling nets

Longlines (nei)

Seine nets
Environmental limitations to fishing: monsoon.
Hutan Melintang: Fish trawl is the major fishing gear landing sharks at Hutan Melintang in Perak. This gear contributed 15,346.96 kg of sharks or 0.30% of the total landings (shark and non-shark) which were recorded from 502 landings during the study duration. An average of 4.3 trawlers/day have sharks among their catches.

Kuantan: Fish trawl is the major fishing gear landing 99% of all sharks caught followed by longlines, purse seine and other gears (especially fish trap) at Kuantan. Total shark catches from these gears were 74,893 kg or 0.58% of the total landings (shark and non-shark). The 74,398 kg of sharks caught by trawlers came from 1,068 boat landings with an average of 8.68 trawlers/day having sharks in their catches.

Bintulu: Fish trawl is also the major fishing gear landing sharks in Bintulu, Sarawak. It contributes 61% of the total sharks followed by gillnet (21%) and longline (18%). A total of 15,852 kg of sharks were landed by these three gears during the study duration which made up 4.0% of the total landings. The number of boats sampled were 53 fish trawlers, 34 gillnetters and 3 longliners. An average of 1.89 boats/day for both trawlers and gillnetters were found to have sharks in their catches.

Mukah: Gillnet is the major fishing gear landing sharks in Mukah, Sarawak, and contributed 88.36% of the total shark landings by all gears, followed by longline (6.23%). The other fishing gears contributed 5.41% of the total shark landing. The total of 8,746.50 kg sharks landed by these gears made up 12.88% of the total landings. From a total of 312 gillnetters sampled during the study, an average of 4.22 gillnetters/day have sharks in their catches.

Sandakan: Fish trawl is the major fishing gear landing sharks in Sandakan, Sabah. A total of 7,258 kg of sharks were landed from 133 fish trawlers landings sampled during the study duration. This amount contributed 94.63% of the total shark landings followed by longline (3.91%) and gillnet (1.46%). The shark landings from these three fishing gears contributed 3.64% of the total landings (shark and non-shark). An average of 1.27 fish trawlers/day, 1.0 longliners/day and 1.0 gillnetters/day were found to have sharks in their catches.

Kota Kinabalu: Fish trawl is the only fishing gear landing sharks in Kota Kinabalu during the study duration. A total of 9,293 kg of sharks were landed from 138 trawler landings sampled. Sharks constituted 1.30% of the total landing (shark and non-shark). An average of 1.2 trawlers/day have sharks in their catches.
Post Harvest
Fish Utilisation
The utilization, price and market destination is almost similar throughout the study duration. Once sharks are caught by fishers, the sharks are not discarded but are brought back where they were usually sold to the local markets and sometimes processed into other products.

Sharks, especially the larger ones, are sold without fins. The prices of fresh whole sharks range from US$0.23 to US$2.05 per kg depending on various factors such as species, size and location. Wet shark meats are traded for between US$0.66 and US$2.10 per kg. In certain places, the shark head is also being sold as bait while the liver is sold for human consumption. Shark fins are mainly processed into three main forms i.e. dried whole-fin, dried loose-fin and wet loose-fin. Dried whole-fins are processed from larger and higher grade shark fins while the loose-fin products are mainly derived from smaller and lower grade fins. Other products, which are derived from sharks, include dried salted shark meat, shark skin, shark cartilage and shark jaw/teeth.
Malaysia's trade in sharks and shark products are mainly confined to the domestic market due to the small volume of supply. Only shark fin products are being traded externally but the exports of these products from Malaysia were rather small amounting to only about 10 tonnes in 2001. Shark fin products are being traded in three categories i.e. dried, salted and prepared/preserved forms. Most of the exports are destined for countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. Substantial quantities of shark fin products traded are in the dried category while only a small amount is in the other two categories.
Management unit: No

Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): Department of Fisheries, Malaysia
Mandate: Management.  
Area of Competence: Malaysia
Maritime Area: Exclusive Economic Zone Areas (EEZ).  
Management Methods

Management measures

Activities-related measures
Based on outcomes from the study, management measures should be taken to conserve sharks. One of the measures to be considered is to provide protection to the critical habitats (breeding area) for sharks in the coastal areas. Management measures should also ensure that there are no growth and recruitment overfishing of sharks.
Source of Information
Information on shark fisheries in Malaysia was collected under the one year study on shark fisheries in the ASEAN region, conducted by SEAFDEC in collaboration with eight Member Countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The study aims to develop standard method for information collection on shark fisheries, to be further undertaken by each Member Countries, to support sustainable management and utilization of sharks in the ASEAN region.
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