Conservation of thresher shark area pushed
Liv G. Campo (The Freeman) - January 14, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - An environmentalist has called on the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the local government of Daanbantayan to take extra steps in conserving a marine area on Malapascua Island.

This after an international magazine published a thresher shark in the island’s Monad Shoal giving birth and a British online news agency, BBC.com, ran a story about it.

“That footage from Malapascua underscores the urgent need to declare Monad Shoal a shark sanctuary,” said Vince Cinches, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Philippines Oceans campaigner.

Cinches, in an interview with The Freeman, said if the shoal becomes a sanctuary, the local government of Daanbantayan, national agencies like BFAR, and business establishments like dive shops and resorts, have “to come together and pool their resources” to protect it, since it has become “vulnerable” due to the presence of illegal fishing.

He said stakeholders and concerned agencies must also establish the carrying capacity of the shoal by regulating the number of people who go there.

Cinches’ group has been pushing for the establishment of sharks sanctuaries in the country for sharks to breed and recover, and as a start, it is eyeing Monad Shoal.

Coral Reefs, an international magazine, published a photograph, taken in 2013, of a thresher shark on Malapascua Island giving birth.

BCC.com, in an article published last Monday, said the photo is “believed to be the first record of a birth in this species.”

The photo, according to BBC.com, was taken by underwater photographer Attila Kaszo while researcher Dr. Simon Oliver of the University of Chester was doing a research on Malapascua’s sharks.

Oliver was quoted by BCC.com as saying that the picture shows how important the shoal to the thresher sharks, especially that it is believed to be their “cleaning station,” where they go have their parasites eaten away by other smaller species and as a pupping ground, as many female sharks were also seen there.

Like Cinches, Oliver and his team also want the shoal be made into a marine protected area. — (FREEMAN)

 

ATTILA KASZO BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES CORAL REEFS DAANBANTAYAN DR. SIMON OLIVER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHESTER GREENPEACE SOUTHEAST ASIA LIKE CINCHES MALAPASCUA MALAPASCUA ISLAND MONAD SHOAL
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