Shark in local restaurantâs menu?
Anna Oposa of Save Philippines Seas said brown-banded bamboo sharks are not included under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, which listed species that should be protected from over-exploitation.
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Shark in local restaurant’s menu?

May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - November 9, 2016 - 12:00am

Authorities now checking 

CEBU, Philippines - Brown-banded bamboo sharks are reportedly being served at a local restaurant in Cebu City.

Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, in its official Facebook account, posted on Monday a photo showing living sharks inside a transparent tank of water, with a caption that the sharks are in the menu of the restaurant.

The November 7 post gained mostly “angry” reactions from netizens.

“Unfortunately, it is legal to sell and cook those (species of) sharks,” Anna Oposa of Save Philippines Seas, however, said, adding that there is no law yet protecting the sharks.

She said brown-banded bamboo sharks are not included under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, which listed species that should be protected from over-exploitation.

She said that though the province has an ordinance that protects sharks, Cebu City is not covered by it since it is a chartered city.

She called on officials of Cebu City and other chartered cities of Cebu to come up with measures protected all species of sharks.

Oposa said that to pressure Cebu City, Save Sharks Network Philippines would hold a parade next week and then deliver a letter to Mayor Tomas Osmeña for the protection of sharks.

Oposa is the co-founder and executive director of Save Philippine Seas, which is an independent movement that aims to protect the country’s marine biodiversity.

Meanwhile, Gloria Estenzo Ramos, vice president for Oceana Philippines, said local officials should protect sharks since these are recognized as apex predators of the world’s oceans. Apex predators are defined as those “residing at the top of a food chain upon which no other creatures prey.”

If they become extinct, Ramos said, the food chain would collapse, as their existence is important in keeping balance in the marine ecosystem.

Ramos said local government units should step up and formulate measures by assessing the sharks’ declining number and declare trade involving sharks as illegal, if there is a need.

“If it’s not prohibited, then people should be ethically responsible with the decreasing number of sharks. We should be prudent in engaging in such behavior,” she said.

Sought for comment, Cebu City Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries Chief Alice Utlang said they would verify the report first before taking action.

She said she already directed a team to check the local restaurant, whose name the FREEMAN is withholding in the meantime, and validate the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines post.

Utlang said her office would also coordinate with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas about the matter.

She acknowledged that coming up with an ordinance protecting sharks is important since Cebu City has several fish markets and fish ports, so that a special team could be mobilized to complement the Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force. (FREEMAN)

SHARK
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