Greenpeace cites need for stronger law to protect sharks in PHL

CEBU CITY, (PNA) — An official of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said they are hoping a stronger national law will be crafted to regulate activities involving sharks in the Philippines.

“Congressman Ying Guaio pledged to become a point person in Congress to come out with a house bill on sharks regulation. There were similar bills before like that one filed by Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, but nothing happened because sharks are not popular. Hopefully we will soon have this one,” said Vince Cinches, ocean defender of Greenpeace SEA.

Cinches said the Fisheries Code and the Wildlife Protection and Conservation Act may have touched the sharks but not all species of it.

Cinches said they want all sharks of whatever species protected.

The Philippines has a total of 163 species from the world’s 400-500 species of sharks.

Cinches said Guaio pledged to file a bill protecting sharks in the country in last week’s shark summit at the Cebu Capitol Social Hall, in which several representatives from different sectors and non-government organizations came.

Cinches said they also want the Philippines to become a sanctuary of sharks like 15 other countries, so that studies on sharks can be done.

“We need to change our outlook in sharks. Leave the sharks alone and you will have a very good ecosystem,” he said.

Cinches said at least 200 tons of shark meat is marketed in the Philippines alone, which results in the further decline of the shark population.

The increasing demand for shark meat, despite its mercury and other heavy metal content, came after fish became scarce due to overfishing, said Cinches.

Cinches said Greenpeace is happy that the Cebu Provincial Government has pledged to support their cause by assuring to strengthen the ordinance that regulates marine species.

The province hosted the shark summit last August 14 and 15.

Cinches said part of the recommendations during the summit was to help the fish ball industry find a way to stop using shark meat.

He said the makers of fish balls have resorted to using shark meat because it is cheaper at P50 per kilo compared to the fish meat which is at P120 and higher per kilo.