NGO hopes stronger laws to protect sharks
Liv G. Campo (The Freeman) - August 18, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - After last week’s two-day shark summit in Cebu, Greenpeace Southeast Asia now hopes that a stronger national law will be crafted to regulate activities involving sharks in the country.

“Congressman Ying Guaio pledged to become a point person in Congress to come out with a house bill on sharks regulation. There were similar bills before like that one filed by Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo, but nothing happened because sharks are not popular. Hopefully we will soon have this one,” said Vince Cinches, ocean defender of Greenpeace SEA.

 The Fisheries Code and the Wildlife Protection and Conservation Act may have touch the sharks but not all sharks, and Cinches said they want all sharks of whatever species protected. The Philippines has a total of 163 species from the world’s 400-500 species of sharks.

 Cinches said Guaio made the pledged in last week’s shark summit at the Capitol Social Hall, in which several representatives from different sectors and non-government organizations came.

 Cinches said they also want, side by side, the Philippines to become sanctuary of sharks like other 15 countries, so that studies on sharks can be done.

“We need to change our outlook in sharks. Kong biyaan lang nimo ang sharks maayo kaayo imong ecosystem,” he said. Cinches said at least 200 tons of shark meat is marketed in the Philippines alone, which results to the further decline of the shark population. The increasing demand for shark meat, despite its mercury and other heavy metal content, came after fish became scarce due to overfishing, said Cinches.

 Meanwhile, in the local scene, Cinches said Greenpeace is happy that the Cebu provincial government has pledged to support their cause by assuring to strengthen the ordinance that regulates marine species. The province hosted the shark summit last August 14 and 15.

 Cinches said part of the recommendations during the summit was to help the fishball industry find a way to stop using shark meat. He said the makers of fishball have resorted to using shark meat because it is cheaper, P50 per kilo compared to the fish meat which is at P120 and up per kilo.

Cinches said, with activities like the shark summit, Greenpeace also hopes to educate people that sharks are part of the ecosystem, and that they are more valuable in the ocean that in their soups.  (FREEMAN)

 

CAPITOL SOCIAL HALL CEBU CINCHES CONGRESSMAN YING GUAIO FISHERIES CODE AND THE WILDLIFE PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION ACT GREENPEACE GREENPEACE SOUTHEAST ASIA SHARK SHARKS
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