News Archive | Forever Sabah

Bubu – The Fish Trap

By Casey Ng, 30 August 2017


The Freshwater for Future initiative aims to improve the resilience and management of freshwater species, habitat and watershed ecosystem services for Sabah.


The Kinabatangan River in Sabah is the second longest river in Malaysia, with a length of 560 kilometres from its headwaters in the mountains of southwest Sabah, to its outlet at the Sulu Sea, east of Sandakan.

Do not be surprised if you find the Orang Sungai in Kinabatangan setting up their “bubu” (fish trap) on dry land. Such practice shows their in-depth ecological knowledge of local hydrology and timing. The trap is set when the river level is low and they expect the level to rise where the trap is set. According to them, fish usually forage along the riparian and under trees. “Bubu” located in such spots stand to yield a better catch.

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Sharks Are Not Tasty – Stop Killing Them

By Harry Jonas, 30 July 2017


On 13 April 2017, the Fisheries Department held the last of a series of consultations about which shark and ray species that are listed under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to include as ‘endangered species’ under the Fisheries (Control of Endangered Species of Fish) Regulations (1999). Present at the meeting were governmental officials, individuals from the fishing community and non-governmental organisations, among others.


This was taken in April 2017 at the fish market in Sandakan, Malaysian Borneo.


At the meeting, Fisheries Department officials reminded participants that The Fisheries (Control of Endangered Species of Fish) Regulations (1999) is a regulation protecting a list of animals including whale sharks (Rhinocodon typus Smith) and several species of dolphin as well as some whales, dugongs and clams. The Regulations state that no person shall fish for, disturb, harass, catch, kill, take, posses, sell, buy, export or transport any ‘endangered species’ specified except with written permission from the Director-General. To do so constitutes an offence. These Regulations currently only protect the following shark or ray species: the whale shark and sawfish. They stated that they are actively considering adding the following fish to the list of ‘endangered species’:

  • Great Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna mokarran),
  • Smooth Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna zygaena),
  • Winghead shark (Eusphyra blonchii),
  • Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharinus longimanus),
  • Oceanic Manta (Manta birostris) and
  • Reef manta (Manta alfredi).

Reef manta by Scubazoo


The Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA) will back up this move with research on:

    • Value of sharks in local markets,
    • Value of sharks and rays in the dive industry, and
    • Research pulling together all other related work.

The SSPA is also conducting a schools awareness program to educate young people about the importance of sharks and rays within the marine environment. Looking ahead, the SSPA plans to co-develop a Sabah Vision for Sharks and Rays in early-2018 to establish a progressive agenda for sharks and rays from 2018-2030.

We will keep you posted on this project through our Facebook page and website. If you’d like to know more about our work, do message us on Facebook.



Water Quality Monitoring Programme in Kinabatangan

By Neville Yapp, 30 June 2017

The Department of Environment (DOE) in collaboration with Sabah Forestry Department (SFD), held a one day gathering in May at the community hall of Kampung Mumiang to share the preliminary findings on the causes of mass fish death which occurred in 2016. The opening speech was delivered on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAFI) by the Sukau Assemblyman YB Datuk Saddie Abdul Rahman. The gathering was also attended by village leaders from Pitas Laut, Bongun and Abai, Department of Mineral and Geoscience, Drainage and Irrigation Department, Chemsain Consulting Group and representatives from palm oil companies operating in the area.


PH levels along the Tributary of Melangking. Results show very acidic waters in freshwater, brackish and marine environment.


As part of the Ramsar Community Group 8 (RCG8) process, Forever Sabah (FS) has been working closely with the villagers of Mumiang since late 2015 to highlight the issue of pollution in their fishing territory, mass fish deaths, conduct independent surveys of the polluted tributary and raise funds and partnerships necessary for a community-based water quality monitoring programme.


Mada Hussin, the JKKK of Mumiang, handing over the findings done independently by the villages of Mumiang and Abai, and Forever Sabah.


During the event, Mada Hussin, the JKKK of Kampung Mumiang handed copies of the collective’s own findings to Datuk Saddie, the Director of DOE and the Director of EPD. It is hoped that the data developed through hard work by the community can provide insights and clues to the real causes of mass fish deaths in the Melangking Tributary.


FS coordinators, Neville Yap and Rosli Jukrana, posing for a ‘wefie’ with the Sukau Assemblyman and his delegates (behind).


During the event, we were able to build a working relationship between the Assemblyman of Sukau, communities and relevant government departments. Unfortunately, there was no time allocated for a Q&A session but the FS team is planning to hold a series of dialogues in the future to create a space for better interactions between communities, government agencies and the private sector.

We will keep you posted on this project through our Facebook page and website. If you’d like to know more about our work, do message us on Facebook.


16th Annual Indigenous People Bazaar

By Cassandra Albanus, 21 April 2017

PACOS Trust, a community based organisation in Sabah that has been actively involved in community development since 1987, welcomes the public to their grounds to show support for the 16th Annual Indigenous People Bazaar of Sabah on the 29th of April 2017, 7.00 am to 2.00 pm.

Native handicrafts on display and for sale at last year’s bazaar

Part of the program includes a three day workshop starting from the 26th to the 28th of April, to build grassroots capacity on community-based pesticide action montoring, corporate accountability and advocacy. Among participating communities are the ethnic groups Tidung from Tawau, Rungus from Pitas and Kudat, Dusun Kimaragang and Tombobuo from Paitan, Beluran, Sungai Lobu from Tongod and Alab Lanas Sook, Murut from Keningau and Tenom, and Dusun from Ranau, Tuaran and Penampang.

Participants from a previous workshop

The objectives of the workshop are to increase the awareness of the negative impacts from the use of insect pesticides at the community level, train participants on how to monitor the usage of insect pesticides, gather socio-economy working groups to discuss, learn and share their achievements in 2016, plan activities for 2017 to further strengthen their efforts, and build larger networks to market their products.

Participating communities from ethnic groups around Sabah

The climax of the four day event – the 16th Annual Indigenous People Bazaar of Sabah – will showcase engaging activities such as handicraft making demonstrations, sale of vegetables, cookies and native products such as handicrafts, and display exhibits from supporting non-governmental organizations.

For further information, contact Rojieka Mahin at +6088-712518. Waze PACOS Trust for directions.


GAMUT Compost – Pilot Project in Donggongon, Penampang

By Cassandra Albanus, 11 April 2017

After weeks of prepping, the GAMUT Compost Fair opened its doors on the 8th of April. About 30 people from around Penampang came by to know more about the green waste composting efforts run by the Jitilon family in Kg Kuai, with the support from Forever Sabah.

How it all started in 2014. Managing Donggongon town waste was identified as a problem.

In partnership with wet market vendors and municipal officials, GAMUT has successfully piloted a circular alternative in Donggongon through which the town’s green waste is instead converted into high quality compost that can go back to the land for gardening, landscaping and food production. The solution is self-sustaining since the sale of compost can cover the processing costs.

GAMUT’s current site to process compost.

In an exciting development, the Penampang Municipality has agreed to direct all suitable waste to GAMUT on a site offered by the Jitilon family. GAMUT is now looking for investments and contributions from Penampang and Kota Kinabalu citizens to scale up processing facilities to 10 tons of waste per month. We’re aiming to raise RM160,000 in investments and contributions to build this next phase of the project.

Plan for the compost processing site. The space is contributed by the Jitilon family.

What the future compost processing site will look like.

Noel Seanundu (right) and Fredshine Ley Wilson (left) presenting at the GAMUT Compost Fair.

Penampang District Officer Luvita Koisun with Cynthia Ong, Forever Sabah’s Chief Executive Facilitator. Thank you for your support, Puan Luvita!

We felt so nervous before the GAMUT Compost Fair but in the end it went well. There were good vibes from the people who made it happen, and those who attended to give their thoughts during the discussion. I would like to thank the Jitilons (my parents), my colleagues at Forever Sabah and LEAP, Penampang District Officer, MDPG, and all who attended and channeled their good energy for GAMUT’s Compost Fair. – Noel Seanundu, GAMUT Coordinator

Guests taking part in the Sweet Potato Treasure Hunt at the Compost Fair.


Our guests were on all fours hunting for sweet potatoes! This is the fruits of their labor.

GAMUT’s compost processing timetable.

This is a first for Sabah, and a pioneer for the region. Please help make Donggongon proud! To contribute and invest in our efforts, please get in touch with Noel at +6013 885 5118. Thank you!

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