Bringing in money like a boss!
If you guys didn't know already, sharks are really important to the ecosystem. We spoke to a shark expert about this a while back, and you can read more about it here
But here's another reason why sharks are so important, particularly in East Malaysia: they actually contribute to the economy there.
Australian Institute of Marine Science's Dr Johanna Zimmerhackel told The Star Online
at the recent Sabah Sharks and Rays Forum 2018 that sharks are worth more alive than dead, especially in Sabah.
That's because the state brings in about USD55.3mil (RM221.9mil)
a year from diving activities carried out at the small tourist island-slash-world famous diving haven of Semporna.
Of that amount, USD16.6mil (RM66.6mil) comes from shark diving activities, plus another USD3.6mil (RM14.44mil) collected from tax.
The remaining amount, according to Dr Zimmerhackel, comes from other activities such as hotel stays and restaurants.
With the amount of money coming in from shark-related activities in Sabah, Dr Zimmerhackel believes that protecting sharks and other sea creatures such as stingrays should be priority number one.
She also believes that setting up a shark sanctuary would kill two birds with one stone: the state economy would continue to be boosted by shark diving activities and at the same time, these sea creatures would also be protected.
According to data
from the state's Fisheries Department, Sabah is home to 48 out of the 70 shark species in Malaysia, and 65 out of 85 ray species.
So, the next time you go diving, give sharks a pat on the nose and tell them that you have their backs.
And please say no to shark fin soup!