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Cebu News

PB OKs revision of law to protect sharks, rays

Michael H. Braga, Gregg Rubio - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Board yesterday approved on third and final reading the amendment to the Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ordinance to include protection of all species of sharks.

A provision of the ordinance, authored by Board Member Thadeo Ouano, already bans fishing or taking, possessing, transporting, dealing, selling or disposing of “any shark species.”

However, this provision is not applicable if fishing, taking, and possessing of shark species is covered by a special permit intended for scientific and/or educational purposes.

Another provision that prohibits the “fishing or taking, possessing, transporting, dealing, selling or disposing of rare, threatened or endangered species” has been modified.

“It shall (now) be unlawful to fish or take, possess, transport, deal in, sell or in any manner dispose of rare, threatened or endangered species ‘as a whole or in parts’ as determined by law, ordinance, legal issuance and by the Department of Agriculture.”

A fine of P5,000 is imposed for erring boat captain or the three highest boat officers including the owner or operator of the vessel and an additional of P500 per fisherman and/or fishworker, who participated in the violation of this provision;

Apart from this, an administrative fine may also be imposed if the following are used in the violation of the abovementioned provisions: Fish net and rope for P 1,000 per linear meter; Global Positioning System, radar, sonar, fathometer, binocular, night vision camera, and power block for P 3,000 per unit; and fish carrier and light boat for P 3,000 per unit.

“In case the administrative penalty imposed in this provision is not paid, the penalty of confiscation and forfeiture of the fish net, rope, global positioning system, radar, sonar, fathometer, binocular, night vision camera, power block, other equipment, tools and gears, and means of transport used in violating this provision shall be imposed on the violators,” a portion of the ordinance read.

The Capitol’s Anti-illegal Fishing Task Force recently flagged down a container van loaded with 200 sacks or estimated P15 million worth of dried shark fins at the Marcelo Fernan Bridge.

However, the van was released later that day after documents were presented by the owner showing that the shark fins were imported from Spain and that a representative of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-7 certified that the fins belonged to that of blue sharks, species not covered by the provincial ordinance.

Meanwhile, the PB seeks to regulate tourist spots or any form of business operations related to or with prime dependence on endangered sharks and rays among local government units in Cebu.

A resolution sponsored by Board Member Miguel Antonio Magpale was passed yesterday urging the Department of Tourism and Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resour-ces to create a Joint Administrative Order for this purpose.

Magpale cited the Local Government Code of 1991 which mandates all LGUs to protect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment, such as dynamite fishing, smuggling, trade and utilization of the endangered species of flora and fauna.

 He said depleting number of sharks and rays species such as hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, thresher shark, manta rays and other batoids species are caused by anthropogenic activities, which would lead to reformed status of man as the apex predator of the ecological system.

In the recently concluded 1st Shark Summit held on August 14-15, various stakeholders aired-out issues and concerns regarding conservation and management of endangered sharks and rays.

 Magpale also cited studies which show that Philippines is the center of the marine fish biodiversity and the home of the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world.

 “In fact, municipalities such as San Remigio, Oslob, Daanbantayan of the Cebu Province are known to tourist for their marine species such as sharks and rays,” he said.

 In a separate resolution also sponsored by Magpale, the PB urged all component cities and municipalities in the province to pass an ordinance implementing a total ban on shark fishing, buying and selling in their jurisdictions.

“Sharks as species, are now being intentionally targeted for their meat,” Magpale said.

The PB also urged the committee on environment and natural resources protection of every barangay units of component cities and municipalities to institute a mechanism regulating, utilization and trade of endangered sharks and rays; and establish a well-documented enforcement procedure.

 Magpale said local problems can be solved by the immediate government unit concerned for speedy action.

 “There exists an emergent need for the barangay units to ensure conservation and management of marine species most specially the endangered sharks and rays,” added Magpale. (FREEMAN)

BOARD MEMBER MIGUEL ANTONIO MAGPALE

BOARD MEMBER THADEO OUANO

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOUR

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES

CEBU PROVINCIAL BOARD

DAANBANTAYAN OF THE CEBU PROVINCE

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

MAGPALE

SHARKS

SPECIES

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