Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Sea Turtle found dead in Cebu
By Annie Perez, 30th November 2017;

Divers on Wednesday found a pawikan (Sea Turtle) dead at the Sampaguita Reef in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu, apparently succumbing to wounds on its face and neck.

Renato Vidal was manning a pump boat full of divers when a floating Hawksbill Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) caught their attention. When they approached, they found out that the Turtle was already dead.

They suspect the Turtle was a victim of spear fishing.

Moalboal police have yet to determine if the Turtle was wounded on its own or was intentionally harmed.

Under Republic Act 9147, harming and killing endangered animals, including the pawikan, is punishable by law.

Moalboal Police chief Senior Insp. Jose Rovic Villarin said they are still investigating the matter.

Marine life advocates in Moalboal are now calling on the public to stop harming marine life, especially the pawikan.

Beth Balane, a dive guide, said marine life is also for the next generation to see.

The dead Turtle was turned over to the Provincial Environmental Office for further investigation.

The town of Moalboal is a dive spot in Cebu province known for its rich marine life.

Source: ABS-CBN News

An Oarfish washed ashore in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro Saturday afternoon.
Photo: Jude Cyril Roque Viernes

Philippines: Another Oarfish washed ashore in Cagayan de Oro
By Greanne Mendoza, 19th February 2017;

An Oarfish was washed ashore in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro Saturday afternoon.

According to Jude Cyril Roque Viernes, who posted the photos on Facebook, the fish, about 15 feet long, was found alive but later died.

Viernes also wrote that residents are afraid that the discovery forebodes an earthquake striking the city.

Some experts believe that deep-sea fish are capable of sensing tremors on the Earth’s crust.

According to Kiyoshi Wadatsumi, in a statement published by Japan Times, such aquatic creatures are more sensitive to the movements of faults.

Days before the magnitude-6.7 quake in Surigao City, an Oarfish was also caught off the shore of Agusan del Norte.

Another Oarfish, meanwhile, was seen along the coast of Barangay Rojales in Carmen, Agusan del Norte.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Photos: ABS-CBN News

Philippines: Dead Oarfish found in Mindanao sparks debate: Can animals predict earthquakes?
11th February 2017;

The earthquake that jolted Surigao del Norte on Friday night jogged the memory of some people on social media, who were saying an incident two days prior could’ve served as a sign for the disaster that was about to strike.

On Wednesday, a 10-foot-long dead Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was caught by fishermen off the coast of Agusan del Norte.

To some, deep-sea creatures such as Oarfish that end up in shallow water are a good predictor of earthquakes. How true that is remains very much a debate?

“It’s theoretically possible because when an earthquake occurs there can be a build-up of pressure in the rocks which can lead to electrostatic charges that cause electrically charged ions to be released into the water,” Rachel Grant, a lecturer in animal biology, said in a report posted on the Independent news website in October 2013.

In an undated Japan Times article, seismologist Kiyoshi Wadatsumi said that “deep-sea fish living near the sea bottom are more sensitive to the movements of active faults than those near the surface of the sea.”

To the untrained observer, it’s easy to jump to conclusions.

Stories proliferated too linking the devastating Japan tsunami of 2011 to incidents of Oarfish beaching that prefaced the disaster.

According to Japanese folklore, Oarfish are nature’s version of prophets of doom.

But not all beachings or strandings or instances of dead deep-sea creatures being found in shallow water are followed by earthquakes and that’s why scientists find such speculation fishy.

In the same Telegraph report, Hiroshi Tajihi, of the Kobe Earthquake Centre, said: “These are just old superstitions and there is no scientific relationship between these sightings and an earthquake.”

While the Oarfish-earthquake connection holds water, more studies need to be made to confirm it as irrefutable scientific fact.

Some experts, such as Tajihi, believe this is an open-and-shut case. Others such as Grant seem to have a more open mind.

At the time of her interview with the Independent, Grant said she was putting together materials for research on the subject.

“We do know that there’s not an earthquake after every Oarfish sighting, but we are going to see if there is an increased probability of Oarfish being seen prior to an earthquake,” Grant said.

“It may be due to seismic activity or it may be due to other factors unconnected with earthquakes, such as infrasound caused by underwater activities, such as military submarines, or pollution.”

Source: ABS-CBN News

Around 1,383 tons of Tilapia have died in the fish kill in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
Photo: Francis Canlas

Philippines: Fish kill damage reaches P100-M in South Cotabato
By Francis Canlas, 2nd February 2017;

The fish kill in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, has already cost fish farmers over P100 million in losses, authorities said Wednesday.

According to the town’s lake warden, Rudy Muyco, a total of 1,383 tons of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) have died in the fish kill since Friday.

Three barangays have declared a state of calamity because of the fish kill. Vice Mayor Floro Gandam said the Sangguniang Bayan will also hold a special session to place the town under a state of calamity.

Fish dealers have warned that there’s a looming shortage of Tilapia in the area because of the fish kill.

“Sa ngayon wala pa kaming mapagkunan. Kasi yung kapatid ko doon kumukuha sa taas sa Lake Sebu,” said Irene Joy Juanico, a fish dealer in the town of Surallah.

(Right now, we can’t get any supplies. My sibling usually gets supplies from up there in Lake Sebu.)

Juanico said she usually sells more than 20 kilos of Tilapia a day. But right now, there is none to sell.

Muyco said they continue to collect dead fish from the lake for disposal. He added that they are now working to minimize the foul smell of decomposing fish in the area, as this could affect tourism in Lake Sebu.

Local officials said they will use calamity funds to buy fingerlings and fish feed, which will be distributed to the affected operators.

They estimate it will take six to eight months before fish farmers recover from losses incurred in the fish kill.

Source: ABS-CBN News

More than 300 fish cage operators were affected by the fish kill in Lake Sebu in South Cotabato which started since Friday.
Photo: Francis Canlas

Philippines:5 tons of Tilapia die in South Cotabato fish kill
By Francis Canlas, 31st January 2017;

Five tons of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) with an estimated worth of P4.5 million were found dead and floating in Lake Sebu in South Cotabato since Friday.

According to local authorities, more than 300 fish cage operators were affected by the fish kill. The number is expected to rise when an assessment is conducted on Tuesday.

At least 90% of the fish cages were affected by the fish kill.

Jonathan Tomayao, one of the affected operators, lost P225,000 worth of Tilapia fingerlings. He believes non-stop rains last week triggered the fish kill.

Dahan-dahan, kaya ito ang epekto n’ya mas malakas ang epekto. Mas mabuti payung biglaan pagkalipas ng ilang araw, makarekober na sila. Pero kapag ganito ang panahon na dahan-dahan mas malaki ang epekto nito,” he said.

(The rain was gradually pouring, and it has this effect. It’s better to have heavy rains in one go. After a few days, the fingerlings would recover. When the rain is gradual and continuous, it has worse effects on the fingerlings.)

Some operators were forced to harvest and sell their Tilapia to buyers.

Dalawang daliri lang kalaki ipalabas na, baka sakaling mabenta pa, ang iba hindi naman nabenta,” said operator Nilda Prado.

(We harvested fish the size of two fingers in hope of having them sold in the market. Most were not bought.)

The town’s agriculturist, Zaldy Artacho, explained that lack of oxygen caused the fish kill.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Photos: D’ Bone Collector Museum

Philippines: Plastic kills sperm whale in Davao
By Rodirey Salas, 20th December 2016;

A Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) found along the shores of Samal died after ingesting plastic materials, experts said Monday.

The juvenile male Sperm Whale was found dead in a coastal area in Barangay Miranda early Saturday morning.

Foreign objects, including cellophane, wires, ropes, fishnets, and hardwood, were found inside the Sperm Whale’s stomach and intestines, officials from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said.

The Sperm Whale’s bones will be preserved and displayed by the Bone Collector Museum, officials said.

Most of the Dolphins and Whales preserved by The Bone Collector Museum died due to human intervention and waste materials, Bone Collector Museum president Darrell Blatchey said.

“Only four out of 53 (Whales and Dolphins) we have recovered died due to natural causes,” he said.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Philippines: Turtle found dead near protected area
By Rodge Cultura, 4th December 2016;

An adult Turtle was found lifeless and floating along Butuan Bay, near a marine protected area, on Sunday.

The lifeless Turtle measured more than a meter long and about half a meter wide. It is estimated to have weighed more than 50 kilograms.

Butuan Bay is located near Carmen town, known to be a nesting area for marine Turtles. Every year, Turtles are found in these areas either trapped in fishnets, found dead or seen laying eggs in nearby shores.

In October 2012, a 5,756-hectare coastal area has been designated as “Carmen Critical Habitat for Marine Turtles,” which covers the coastal barangays of Vinapor, Gosoon, San Agustin, Cahayagan and Tagcatong in Carmen, Agusan del Norte province.

Last February, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) designated a 612-hectare area in the town of Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental, as a critical habitat for Hawksbill Sea Turtles, bringing to more than 6,300 hectares the total area being protected in Northeastern Mindanao to ensure the survival of the critically endangered marine species.

The designation of Magsaysay Critical Habitat for Hawksbill Turtles is embodied in DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-02, establishing the coastal barangays of Kandiis, San Isidro and Damayohan as wildlife critical habitats where a total of six nesting sites of Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are found.

The Turtle was found with wounds in the head and protruding eyes, which may provide clues to explain its death.

As of posting, authorities from the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau have yet to check the Turtle’s carcass.

City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Norman Asugan of DENR Nasipit said he is sending his men in the area to check the lifeless Turtle.

Source:

Based on the carapace and the number of pairs of prefrontal scales, this is a Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas).