Philippines: Injured Whale Shark dies
By Keith Brandon Cari-an, 12th August 2016;
A 17.17-foot Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) caught in a fishnet off the coast of the Camingawan area in Tañon Strait by fishermen from Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, died after attempts to release it back into the sea on Wednesday.
City Veterinarian Baltazar Delorino said the male juvenile Whale Shark’s right fin had been cut off, possibly days earlier as the wound was already healing.
Bruises and other signs of physical trauma were also found on the body of the large marine vertebrate Delorino said.
The Whale Shark, locally known as “butanding” or “tuki” was entangled in the drift gill net at around 4 a.m. Wednesday and was towed to the coastline of Brgy. Bulanon, fisherman Ronie Francisco said.
Upon arrival of Sagay Marine Reserve personnel, it was already highly stressed, and despite the attempts to release it, it eventually died and was brought to Old Sagay Port, Delerino said.
Jose Roberto Togle, SMR Resource Management Section Head, advised the fishing community to refrain from using drift gillnet, especially the malleable type.
He said this type of gillnet makes it difficult to release entangled marine animals.
The marine reserve management also urged the fisherfolk that upon careful assessment of marine creatures, they must be released immediately to the sea and avoid dragging them into the shore.
Crowd control is also important in stranding rescue activity as people have the tendency to take pictures, which adds to the stress of the marine creature under trauma, he said.
Togle added that educating the fisherfolk and the coastal community will be prioritized to avoid similar occurrences.
SMR immediately buried the Whale Shark at the sanitary landfill in Barangay Paraiso.
Whale Shark are considered
“Vulnerable” (Note: already upgraded to “Endangered”) according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
They are locally protected by RA 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act that covers the protection of all the wildlife resources of our country, especially the threatened and exotic species; and the Fisheries Administrative Order 193, also known as Ban on the taking or catching, selling, purchasing and possessing, transporting and exporting of Whale Sharks and Manta Rays (Manta sp.).