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Monday, April 27, 2009

Whale shark rescued by Cagayan fisherfolk

Great work from the Philippines! It's essential for governments to realise that these amazing creatures are worth much much more alive than dead and they need to be protected.
Whale shark rescued by Cagayan fisherfolk
April 27, 2009, 4:52pm, Manila Bulletin

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan — Local officials and residents of Buguey town in this province rescued an endangered whale shark or butanding last week.

Buguey Municipal Secretary Arthur Pagador said the whale shark, measuring about 7 meters in length and weighing about 2 tons, was found entangled in a beach seine (daklis) along the shore of Barangay Centro West Saturday.

After an hour or so, the whale shark was freed and was able to return towards the deeper portions of the sea.

“It is very fortunate that the fishermen made a move to save the animal instead of kill it,” Pagador said.

Sec. 97 of RA 8550 and Fisheries Administrative Order 193 prohibits the catching of whale sharks and manta rays. Violation to the law carries 6 months to 4 years imprisonment as penalty.

Old folks in the coastal areas say whale sharks used to abound in great quantities but indiscriminate fishing might have drove them off. BFAR Regional Director Jovita Ayson said that recent sightings might be an indication of the re-emergence of whale shark population in Cagayan waters.

Recently, the fisheries bureau in the region initiated a briefing among members of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee Sub-committee on Fishing and Marine Environmental Protection on the proper rescue procedure on stranded marine mammals to include whale sharks and other rare and threatened species, as part of the activities under the Region 02 Marine Mammal Stranding Network. (Max Prudencio, BFAR R02).

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