Science and Environment

Speaker’s shark preservation bill gets OK

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s bill that calls for the preservation of sharks in the country and provides for their regulation was approved on third and final reading on Monday. 

A total of 174 lawmakers voted to approve House Bill 8926 (Shark Conservation Act) regulating the catching, sale, purchase, possession, transportation, importation and exportation of all sharks, rays and chimaeras in the country.

“Sharks are typically depicted as apex predators that have significant top-down effects on food webs. They help keep prey populations healthy by feeding on weak, sick, or old fishes, and prevent overgrazing of critical marine habitats,” she said.  

The congresswoman from Pampanga said the measure aims to address the extinction of marine wildlife and achieve a balance between human needs and the integrity of the Philippine marine ecosystem.  

HB 8926 also provides for the conservation of sharks, and related classes, as well as the threats to their existence. “The removal of sharks from an ecosystem has the potential to create significant changes to predator-prey interactions, affecting the whole system.”  

“Aside from ecological benefits, sharks and rays have also been proven to boost local economies through sustainable tourism activities, and through fisheries in many developing countries,” the former president explained.  

As a matter of policy, the Department of Agriculture shall have jurisdiction over the regulation of the consumption and preservation of sharks, rays and chimaeras in all Philippine waters. 

The lead agency that will take charge of its strict implementation will be the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

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