Public urged: Help protect sharks

Michael Vencynth H. Braga/FPL (The Freeman) - August 25, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Provincial Anti-illegal Fishing Task Force has urged the public to continue to be vigilant against activities involving sharks following the recent interception of 20-footer container van loaded with 5,000 kilos of shark fins.

The van, however, was released after the owner was able to present documents that the fins belonged to other shark species not covered by the provincial ordinance protecting endangered species.

The provincial government posted on its Facebook account that the intercepted shark fins were that of blue shark species as certified to by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-7 through its representative Randolf Corrales.

The blue sharks are not covered in the existing provincial ordinance that prohibits fishing or taking, possessing, transporting, dealing, selling or disposing of rare, threatened or endangered species.

Loy Anthony Madrigal, head of the Anti-illegal Fishing Task Force, said that the documents also show that the shark fins worth P15 million were imported from Spain and the drying process was just made here before exporting them to Hong Kong on August 30.

“Sometimes they (people) have to understand nga ang pagpanakop is not that easy. We have to look at the legal side. We have to balance it out. Kinahanglan sab mi magproteksyon sa among kaugalingon. Kay kung masayop ta, dunay technicality, mosambalik ra man sab na sa atoa. Unsaon na man lang ang future operations,” Madrigal told The FREEMAN, in a phone interview.

The container van was intercepted at the Marcelo Fernan Bridge Saturday morning after surveillance was made by the Capitol and Lapu-Lapu City task forces which were also tipped off by concerned citizens. The dried shark fins will be made into soup.

The report on the release of the container van posted on the Capitol’s social media account solicited reactions from netizens who were concerned on the number of sharks that were killed, basing on the shark fins that weighed thousands of kilos.

“Just wondering how many blue sharks drowned and got killed after losing their fins, which are helping them swim around the vast waters under the sea. #SaveTheSharks, “ posted Richard Go Batiquin.

“I would suggest na it’s high time for our legislators to amend the provincial ordinance of Cebu and include blue sharks as one of the endangered species ang dami nang nawala na mga blue sharks imagine isang container na mga fins. Please, “ Campaner Nestor stated.

Despite the release, three samples of the shark fins have been kept for examination by experts tomorrow, Madrigal said.

Madrigal also called for the passage of the ordinance that would amend the Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ordinance of Cebu.

That amendment would already ban fishing or taking, possessing, transporting, dealing, selling of “any shark” species, unless a special permit is secured for educational purposes.

The proposed ordinance is now on its way for the third and final reading in the Provincial Board. (FREEMAN)

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES CAMPANER NESTOR CAPITOL AND LAPU-LAPU CITY FINS FISHING TASK FORCE HONG KONG LOY ANTHONY MADRIGAL MARCELO FERNAN BRIDGE SATURDAY PROVINCIAL SHARK
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