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Cebu News

In Malapascua: Divers shoo away sharks from shoal?

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Illegal fishing and improper diving activities are reportedly driving thresher sharks away from the Monad Shoal, a sunken island near Malapascua where the sharks come for grooming.

And while it was confirmed that certain diving practices are indeed detrimental to coral reefs, divers themselves have put the blame on illegal fishers in the area.

However, Daanbantayan Municipal Tourism officer Gregg Rubio said that “there were reports about illegal fishing.. .pero layo sa area nga naa’y thresher sharks.”

Rubio suspects that these illegal fishers are from other places.

Although reported explosions were not close to the dive sites, the divers believe that the blast might have had scared away the thresher sharks, Rubio said.

The thresher shark would surface in the shoal to allow a small fish called cleaning wrasse to clean its body.

The wrasse would eat the dead skin as well as the bacteria thriving on the shark’s body, gills and in its mouth. Such wonder in the underwater world draws interest from divers who come to Monad Shoal not only to watch but also to photograph, and or videotape, one of nature’s awesome displays of symbiosis.

On the other hand, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office said that there are several factors to be considered as to why the sharks are hardly seen in the area recently.

According to PENRO, it “might most likely be the number of divers in the site and their activities underwater.”

PENRO had observed that some divers, especially the beginners, were “not given proper instructions as to how to behave underwater.”

Based on pictures, PENRO stated that “dili man agi sa dynamite fishing… ilhan man kung dynamite kay mabangag man. Ludhan man god nis mga divers ang mga coral reefs while they are waiting for the sharks to show up.”

Further, PENRO said that the thresher sharks might just be visiting Monad Shoal for the wrasses that clean them up. But these sharks do not actually live there in the coral reefs with the wrasses.

PENRO pointed out that because the coral reefs have already been destroyed, the cleaning wrasses might have moved to another place where they could dwell and thrive.  — Joy Kareen T. Saliente/MEEV

DAANBANTAYAN MUNICIPAL TOURISM

DIVERS

GREGG RUBIO

JOY KAREEN T

MONAD SHOAL

PROVINCIAL ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES OFFICE

RUBIO

SHARKS

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