Photo: Rose Anne

A Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) was accidentally caught by a net in Calatagan, Batangas last 9 October.

Source: Jessie Fronda Delos Reyes Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Malaysia: Mabul sharks likely not from our waters
20th July 2016;

ictures on the killing of several Sharks that went viral on Tuesday were taken about a week ago, according to Semporna District Officer Dr Chacho Bulah.

He said it was usual for fishermen to rip the flesh of the fish to make “siagol”, a local delicacy using Shark meat as base, mixed with pepper and tumeric.

“However Sharks are not the main target for fishing activities in the area. They are a bycatch along with commercial species,” he said. Dr Chacho denied there had been any Shark finning activities in the area, pointing out the marine life were landed in Mabul with body still intact, only to be gutted and chopped up on the island.

Dr Chacho also confirmed that Mabul is a fish landing area.

According to seasoned divers in the area Mabul barely had any Shark population over the last 50 years.

Scubajeff divemaster Nazmi Razali said Mabul is not a main habitat for Sharks so one would be lucky to spot the species when diving.

“We in Mabul are aware that the Sharks were not captured in Malaysian waters.” But many of those who have visited the area confirmed the presence of a “slaughter house” for Sharks on the island for years.

Pat Lingam who posted photos of the Sharks on Facebook said many of these fishes were caught by the local fishermen and brought to the village to be gutted and chopped up.

“Mabul is just a base where they cut up the Sharks and sell them. The fish are caught from waters in neighbouring countries like Indonesia and sold to visitors, mostly visiting China nationals in Sabah,” said Pat revealing that the photos were taken Monday afternoon.

Fisheries Department Director Dr Ahemad Sade also verified the photos were indeed taken on Mabul but denied allegations there had been any Shark finning activities on the island.

Instead, he said all the Sharks are caught and brought back one piece before being chopped up at Mabul island which is the base for fish landing. Dr Ahemad said the fish are then put into baskets before being sent to Semporna.

“The Sharks brought to the island are cleaned and soaked for a while before the cutting process begins.

"Fishermen on the island use sea water instead of fresh water to clean the fish due to the lack of fresh water.

"The cutting can only be done during high tide,” he said.

“There had been no cases of protected fish being landed on Mabul.” There are 67 licensed fishermen on the island and they use hooks and long-lines to fish. Sharks are not the main catch but instead a bycatch along with other commercial fish caught unintentionally, he said.

Dr Ahemad also said from February 25 2014, the department had prohibited Shark fishing and finning on local fishing vessels and their bodies being thrown into the sea as additional requirements for licences.

Source: Daily Express

Photos allegedly taken in Mabul Island have sparked outrage again from conservationists who say that such acts were contradictory to the state’s eco tourism.
Photo: Danau Girang Field Centre

Malaysia: Fresh Shark finning photos from Sabah emerge on internet, but minister says hands tied
By Julia Chan, 19th July 2016;

New gory photos of shark finning said to be taken in the dive haven of Mabul, off Sabah’s famed Sipadan island are circulating on the internet and have enraged environmentalists, including state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Masidi who has been advocating Shark protection in Sabah’s waters denounced the heinous act, but indicated that there would be little the authorities could do as there is currently no law banning Shark finning in the state.

“The photos speaks volumes of what I and many other Sabahans have been advocating for the last five years,” he said, adding that he had given his thoughts on the problems many times in the past.

Asked if there would be investigations based on the photos, he replied: “What difference does it make when there is no law against this despicable act?”

The photos on Facebook show several Sharks with their fins cut off floating in a sea of blood within a water village area, along with allegations that the photos were taken at Mabul island, a locally-inhabited island within the Tun Sakaran Marine Park.

The island itself is home to a fishing community living in several water villages, as well as a host of dive resorts ranging from backpacker to luxury stilt chalets.

Conservation research group Danau Girang Field Centre director Dr Benoît Goossens, who posted on their Facebook page, said that it was incomprehensible to think that such an act was allowed to be carried out near a world class diving island like Sipadan.

“The massacre has to stop! It is crazy to think that it is happening a few miles from the best diving spots where divers go to see Sharks. I think Sabah should make a stand and put the Sharks under special protection in Sabah’s waters and enforce it,” he said.

“Sharks attract divers from all over the world to Sabah, it is a huge tourism industry bringing millions to the state. Sabah needs to get its own law, ban Shark killing and finning and enforce the law in its waters,” he said.

Following reports of an 80 per cent decline of Sharks in its waters, the state has been pushing for the federal government to ban Shark hunting and finning by amending its Fisheries Act. However, its three year proposal was dismissed claiming that Shark hunting was not a huge business in the state.

Masidi has since then come out to say that the state will enforce its own Shark sanctuary through its marine parks soon.

The Tun Sakaran Marine Park in Semporna, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park fronting the state capital, and the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park in Kudat would be declared Shark sanctuaries and off limits to shark fishing.

The three parks total some two million hectares and are habitat to about 80 per cent of the state’s Shark population.

The Tun Mustapha Marine Park is set to be launched this Sunday.

Source: Malay Mail

SHARE THIS WIDELY, PLEASE.

The massacre has to stop! Shark finning in Mabul, Sabah… right now. Sharks attract divers from all over the World to Sabah, it is a huge tourism industry bringing millions to the State. Sabah needs to get its own law, ban shark killing and finning and enforce the law in its waters. We beg the consumers, stop eating shark fin soup!

Sources: ChungWui Tang Facebook, Danau Girang Field Centre Facebook &Urang Utan Ba Facebook

The head of a Shark was found floating in the seawaters of Moalboal town, a favorite dive spot in Cebu for its rich marine resources.
Photo: Malyn Mayorga

Philippines: BFAR-7 launches probe on Thresher Shark killings
By Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, 21st June 2016;

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-7) has started its investigation on the killing of Thresher Sharks (Alopias sp.) in Moalboal following reports that two dead Sharks, with their body parts mercilessly cut up, were found floating in the seas off the coast of the southwestern town.

BFAR-7 director Andres Bojos told Cebu Daily News that two quick response teams were immediately sent to Moalboal yesterday to check on what is widely considered to be blatant violations of a string of laws and ordinances banning the killing and selling of all species of Sharks.

Last June 5, a Moalboal resident diver discovered the head of a Thresher Shark floating in the waters of Panagsama Beach, Barangay Basdiot. Ten days later on June 15, in Barangay Tongo, another dead Thresher Shark was found by a Japanese tourist.

It is believed that the Sharks were killed by fishermen trying to eke out a living from the sale of Sharks in the market.

Basdiot Barangay Captain Cirilo Tapales revealed that village officials are coordinating with BFAR-7 on the investigation.

“So far we have not identified who are the culprits in killing the Sharks. I asked other fishermen in our barangay if they have identified that person but so far we don’t have his identity,” Tapales told CDN.

The village chief who received a photo of the dead Shark found in his barangay expressed surprise over the killing of the Thresher Shark as officials, he said, had strongly campaigned for the existing Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ordinance of Cebu which bans the killing, harvest or sale of all species of Sharks along with the indiscriminate removal of seaweed.

“There are signs in the market that remind vendors and fishermen not to catch and sell Sharks,” Tapales said.

Verge Gamotan, the Moalboal resident diver who raised the alarm on the killing of Thresher Sharks in the town, met with Tapales yesterday.

“We recommended to put signs about the ordinance in public offices and have at least monthly updates and meetings with the fisherfolk group,” Gamotan told CDN.

Gamotan also suggested a reward system to encourage people to report violations on the killing and selling of Sharks or Stingrays.

The ordinance, authored by the late Cebu provincial board member Thadeo Ouano, declared it unlawful to fish or take, possess, transport, deal in, sell or in any manner dispose of rare, threatened or endangered species.

It imposes a fine of P5,000 against the boat captain or the three highest boat officers including the owner/operator of the vessel and an additional P500 for every fisherman or worker who participates in the violation.

Each violator will also be charged P 1,000 for every kilo of fish or fishery species caught, taken, possessed, transported, dealt in, sold, or disposed in violation of the ordinance.

Source: Cebu Daily News

According to Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, the Shark head found at Panagsama does not belong to a Thresher Shark (Alopias sp.). It appears to be that of one of the Requiem Sharks (F. Carcharhinidae). Without photos of the carcass, it is also impossible to confirm that the Shark found at Barangay Tongo was that of a Thresher Shark.

The head of a Shark was found floating in the seawaters of Moalboal town, a favorite dive spot in Cebu for its rich marine resources.
Photo: Malyn Mayorga

Philippines: Probe Thresher Shark deaths, BFAR asks Capitol, Moalboal
By Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, 19th June 2016;

Cebu province and the Moalboal municipal government should take the lead in investigating and stopping the killing of Thresher Sharks (Alopias sp.), an official of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-7) said yesterday.

“The Cebu province and Moalboal being in the forefront as far as municipal water and fisherfolk are concerned, they must assume the responsibility of conducting the investigation,” Regional BFAR Director Andres Bojos said.

He said there is a Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ordinance in Cebu that bans the killing, harvest or sale of all species of Sharks and the indiscriminate removal of seaweed.

The ordinance was authored by the late Provincial Board member Thadeo Ouano. Errant boat captains will be charged P5,000 for the first offense.

A P500 fine will be paid by each fisherman or worker that also took part in the offense.

For every kilo of Shark caught or sold, a violator will be fined P1,000.

“If both LGU and the Cebu provincial government need the assistance of BFAR-7, then we will assist,” he said.

Cebu Daily News called Moalboal Mayor Inocentes Cabaron who said he still has to get details of the incident.

Two Thresher Sharks were killed last June 5 and June 15 in Moalboal town, southwestern Cebu.

Source: Cebu Daily News

According to Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, the Shark head found at Panagsama does not belong to a Thresher Shark (Alopias sp.). It appears to be that of one of the Requiem Sharks (F. Carcharhinidae). Without photos of the carcass, it is also impossible to confirm that the Shark found at Barangay Tongo was that of a Thresher Shark.

The head of a Shark was found floating in the seawaters of Moalboal town, a favorite dive spot in Cebu for its rich marine resources.
Photo: Malyn Mayorga

Philippines: Thresher Sharks killed in Moalboal by fisherfolk
By Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, 18th June 016;

When people talk of diving in Cebu, Moalboal in the southwestern coast of the province often comes to mind for its colorful corals and rich marine life, which includes hundreds of thousands of Sardines (Sardinella sp.) that have come to populate its seas and Thresher Sharks (Alopias sp.) that have become a fixture in the deep as they prey on smaller fish.

But the town’s thriving aquatic resources face a real threat following two successive discoveries of Thresher Sharks mercilessly killed by still unidentified fishermen.

The two incidents had been brought to the attention of town officials by concerned divers in the area.

According to Verge Gamotan, a Moalboal resident diver, the head of a Thresher Shark was found floating last June 5 in the waters of Panagsama Beach, Barangay Basdiot.

“It was the secretary of Neptune Dive Shop who found the (Shark) head floating in the sea,” Gamotan told Cebu Daily News.

He said the culprit who cut up the Thresher Shark had yet to be identified.

On June 15 in Barangay Tongo, another dead Thresher Shark was found by a Japanese tourist according to the Moalboal diver. It was believed that a fisherman caught the shark while trying to catch a Needlefish (F. Belonidae) in the open sea.

“But it was a Thresher that was caught. Then (the fisherman) cut the fins and left the body decapitated,” Gamotan said.

The Sharks were believed intended to be sold in the market, but it remained unclear why some body parts were left floating at sea.

“We are asking everyone’s help on how to go about this issue as I don’t have an experience when it comes to handling this type of scenario,” Gamotan appealed through CDN while he also contacted the office of Moalboal Mayor Inocentes Cabaron to arrange for a meeting next week.

“I am seeking help and proper information dissemination and doing the best that I know to ensure that this won’t happen again,” he said.

Pictures of the dead Thresher Sharks were posted by Gamotan on Facebook.

Gamotan has been diving in the waters of Moalboal for over 4 years; however, he does not belong to any support group or affiliated organization for marine conservation, he said.

Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Vince Cinches for his part called for help in identifying the fishermen responsible for killing the Sharks, so that they can be held accountable under the Cebu Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ordinance, which totally bans the fishing, buying and selling of all species of Sharks.

“It is revolting that the continued catching of Sharks in a world renowned diving area goes on with impunity,” Cinches told CDN.

Cinches hopes that Moalboal town officials will urgently take up the matter considering that thousands of tourists are drawn to Moalboal for its rich marine resources.

“Why kill the very thing that brings in money to the people in the first place?” Cinches asked.

Source: Cebu Daily News

According to Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, the Shark head found at Panagsama does not belong to a Thresher Shark. It appears to be that of one of the Requiem Sharks (F. Carcharhinidae). Without photos of the carcass, it is also impossible to confirm that the Shark found at Barangay Tongo was that of a Thresher Shark.