Scientists and Sabah startup work on sustainable recreational fishing as blue livelihoods

KOTA KINABALU: The blue economy will help Sabah meet its sustainable development goals, particularly in fisheries and marine tourism.

The objective could be achieved via collaboration among Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), ReeFish and World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF- Malaysia) to bring recreational fishing to a more wholesome and exciting level.

It will also be contributing to science and sustainable development, based on the “build back better” concept.

ReeFish is a locally owned, Sabah-based startup which aims to provide access to anglers who want to lend a hand to science and at the same time contribute towards the sustainability of this popular recreational activity.

The research collaboration is supported by funds channeled by WWF-Malaysia, a forefront civil society organisation (CSO).

WWF-Malaysia conservation head Dr. Robecca Jumin said through the collaboration, they want to explore responsible recreational fishing as a potential Covid-19 blue recovery livelihood for local stakeholders.

WWF-Malaysia’s Dr Robecca (seated right) during the launching ceremony

“We would like to develop sustainable opportunities in recreational fishing based on the build back better concept.

“This concept is part of disaster management and importantly, promotes nature- based solutions to conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystem services,” she said in a statement.

Today on Sept 8, collaborators have organized a project launching ceremony at the UMS jetty and unveiled the project’s website at

Founder of ReeFish Datuk Darrel Webber said that while it is going to be challenging, they are lucky to have found great partners to assist the endeavors.

“If we succeed, we would have introduced a new responsible tourism product for Sabah and, hopefully, start a trend!” he added.

UMS Borneo Marine Research Institute associate professor Dr. Mabel Manjaji Matsumoto said their focus will be on marine anglers.

“The research will take on multiple approaches in our profiling of the recreational fishery, from appraising the status of recreational fishing in Sabah to addressing the issue of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing contributed by angling activities.

“One approach is through engaging citizen scientists for their input, Darrel elaborates that the project’s website is created to promote responsible angling and to create an avenue for the anglers to record their memorable experience by uploading footages, which at the same time contribute to citizen science efforts.

“The footages will be collated as information and passed on to UMS fisheries scientists to be analysed.”


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