The dead Turtle that was found by divers in Moalboal.
Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Moalboal mayor offers P50K reward to find Turtle’s killer
By Morexette B. Erram, 1st December 2017;

Mayor Inocentes Cabaron will give a P50,000 cash reward to those who can provide information leading to the identification and arrest of person/s responsible for the killing of a Green Sea Turtle (pawikan) (Chelonia mydas) in Moalboal town, southwest Cebu last Wednesday.

“We are offering P50,000 to any person who could give information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or people concerned,” Cabaron said in a text message yesterday.

In a follow-up phone interview, the mayor said, this is the second time a Green Turtle was killed intentionally. The first one, he said, happened in 2006 or 2007 wherein a person smashed the head of the creature with a bottle.

“Our constituents were outraged. And we (from the local government) felt the same. This is why we are offering a P50,000 cash reward because killing the Green Sea Turtle is a blow to our tourism industry,” he stated.

Data from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) revealed that there are at least four sanctuaries in the waters of Moalboal town that became world-famous diving spots.

Initial reports from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR–7) and the Tourist Police of Moalboal showed that the reptile was found by divers floating dead with a wound believed hit by a spear gun in Sampaguita Reef off the coast of Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal.

DENR–7 information officer Charmi Regudo told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview that the agency’s Tañon Strait Protected Seascape task force is still verifying the cause of its death.

She also said that they are still conducting investigation on the matter.

Regudo said that according to the tourist police unit, the Turtle would have been dead for around three to four days before it was found by divers.

“The dead Turtle was already turned over to the Bantay Dagat on Thursday,” said Regudo.

Spear gun fishing is banned in marine sanctuaries in Moalboal, located more than 88 kilometers southwest of Cebu City.

The photo of the dead Green Turtle posted on Kalle Epp Facebook page last Wednesday, went viral and generated more than 7,300 reactions from netizens and shared across the platform at least 3,230 times.

“We have found a dead Turtle this morning at the coral reef near Sampaguita, not far from our dive shop. By all means it looks like it has a spear gun wound in the neck. We are outraged!” the photo caption reads.

Meanwhile, Penro also offered to help trace the killer of the Green Turtle.

Rommel Kirit, Penro senior environment manager, said they were now coordinating with the local officials, law enforcers, fisherfolks’ organization, and owners of diving shops to obtain information about the incident.

“While DENR–7 is probing the matter, we will help by tracing the hunter,” said Kirit.

Kirit said that the Bantay Dagat in Moalboal buried the Turtle yesterday morning since it was already in a state of decomposition.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

A Spinner Dolphin was found dead at Panagsama Beach in Moalboal on Friday morning.
Photo: Kristina Luz Uy Tapales

Philippines: Dead Dolphins found along Tañon Strait Protected Seascape
By Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, 17th February 2017;

Three Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris) were found dead, one off Panagsama Beach in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal town and two in Barangay Montañeza in Malabuyoc, all along the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS).

Kristina Luz Uy Tapales, TSPS operations head of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7, said a tourist discovered the dead Dolphin at around 7 a.m. yesterday as he was waking along the shore at Panagsama beach.

“We still have to identify the cause of death because there are no wounds found,” Tapales told Cebu Daily News.

She also could not say if the strong waves could have caused its death, saying Dolphins are playful, good and fast swimmers.

The Spinner Dolphin found in Panagsama Beach weighed 46 kilograms and was 1.8 meters long. It was buried yesterday at the municipal cemetery.
TheSpinner Dolphin’s dorsal fin identified it as belonging to the Ronda pod in the town of Ronda, southwestern Cebu.

“In a pod there are 15 to 100 Dolphins found. Researchers were able to identify the dorsal fin of this dead Dolphin through photo,” Tapales said.

Meanwhile, in Barangay Montañeza, Malabuyoc, two juvenile Spinner Dolphins were also found dead Thursday afternoon, washed ashore by strong waves.

Erik Ybas, Environment & Natural Resources Officer of municipality of Malabuyoc said that local fishermen in Sitio Lala O, Barangay Motañeza tried to return the Dolphins to the sea but they later died because of wounds in their mouth.

“The fishermen failed to return them and noticed that there was blood coming from their mouths,” Ybas told Cebu Daily News.

He commended the local fishermen for trying to save the Dolphins.

“I appreciate them bisan pa sa aghat sa ubang tawo ipa karne pero wala buhata, (despite the proddings from people to eat the Dolphins, they did not do it). Really worth appreciating,” he added.

The two dead juvenile Dolphins were turned over to Municipal Agriculturist and buried in Municipal Cemetery.

Tapales explained that she could not identify which specific pod these two juvenile Dolphins belonged to since they have not seen their dorsal fins.

Tañon Strait is an important migration corridor that measures 518, 221 hectares or 161 kilometers long.

There are 14 species of sea mammals, 18,830 hectares of coral reefs and 5,000 hectares of mangrove area with 26 known mangrove species in the stretch.

Source: Cebu Daily News

Two juvenile Dolphins died after they were washed off by strong waves in the town of Malabuyoc.
Photo: Eric Ybas

Philippines: Juvenile Dolphins die after being washed ashore in Malabuyoc
By Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, 16th February 2017;

Two juvenile Dolphins died on Thursday afternoon in Barangay Motañeza, Malabuyoc, southern Cebu after they were washed ashore by strong waves.

Erik Ybas, OIC Environment and Natural Resources Office and Municipal Tourism Operations Officer of the Municipality of Malabuyoc said local fishermen in Sitio Lala O, Barangay Motañeza tried to return the Dolphins but later died because of wounds in their mouths.

“The fishermen tried to return them (to the sea) and noticed that there was blood coming out from its mouth,” Ybas told Cebu Daily News.

Ybas also commended the local fishermen for trying to save the Dolphins.

“I appreciate them bisan pa sa aghat sa ubang tawo ipa karne pero wala buhata worth appreciating jud (I appreciate them for trying to save the Dolphins despite other people urging them to just sell its meat),” he added.

The two juvenile Dolphins were turned over to the Municipal Agriculturist and was later buried in the Municipal Cemetery.

Source: Cebu Daily News

These appear to be Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris).

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.

Personnel from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources examine a dead Spinner Dolphin that was washed ashore in barangay Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City. Photo by Norman Mendoza

Philippines: Spinner Dolphin found dead at Lapu-Lapu City shore
By Carine M. Asutilla, 14th April 2015;

A Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) was found dead on the shore of Barangay Punta Engaño in Lapu-Lapu City Monday morning.

Local fishermen found the sea animal bleeding and lifeless.

They immediately contacted Task Force Kalikasan to examine the dolphin which weighed about 40 kilos and reached five feet.

It was brought to Lapu-Lapu City Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (CFARMC) office.

City Coastal Law Enforcement Officer Andy Berame said he suspected that the dolphin had suffered internal bleeding.

“I think the dolphin was hit by fishermen using dynamite,” he said.

He observed that its head was badly injured which may have affected the dolphin’s ability to navigate, leading it to land on the shore.

Berame also noted wounds on the dolphin’s tail and stomach, possibly a result of being slammed on the rocky shore.

Dynamite fishing still occurs in Lapu-Lapu City, which Task Force Kalikasan constantly monitors in order to apprehend the illegal fishers, said Berame.

Most of the dynamite fishers operate in the seas between Bohol island and Lapu-Lapu City.

He said that a necropsy will be conducted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to determine the cause of death.

Last month, a dolphin was also found dead on the shores of barangay San Vicente in Lapu-Lapu City. It had similar injuries caused by dynamite fishing.

“We will make sure that the laws against illegal fishing are implemented in Lapu-Lapu City, especially that the sea is our city’s main tourist attraction,” Berame said.

Lapu-Lapu City is known for its resorts, beaches and tourist attractions. Fishing is also a livelihood for many coastal villages.

Source: Cebu Daily News