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Cebu City urged to protect sharks

By: Melissa Q. Cabahug, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag July 02,2015 - 11:45 AM

 Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner of Greenpeace shows a Facebook post of sharks sold in Dalaguete, Cebu. (CDN/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner of Greenpeace shows a Facebook post of sharks sold in Dalaguete, Cebu.

THE CEBU city government was urged to strengthen enforcement of the ban on illegal trade of marine species.

While Cebu province has an ordinance banning the catching and trading of all species of sharks and rays, sale of these continues in the Pasil fish market.

Vince Cinches, oceans campaigner of Greenpeace, said they found various species displayed in the Pasil fish market. They include shovelnose ray, blue spotted fantail ray, whitespotted bamboo shark, whitespotted eagle ray, honeycomb whip ray, whitespotted guitar fish, shark ray, fevil ray and juvenile yellow tuna.

Some of these are classified as “threatened” by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

“There should be a strong lookout and monitoring here (Cebu City). We need to protect sharks because it will provide food security. Fish catch in Central Visayas has been affected because of the imbalance of the ecosystem,” he said during the 888 News Forum at Marco Polo Plaza.

Shark meat is being sold in Pasil at P30 to P60 per kilo. The meat is used in making tempura and fish balls and seafood tempura.

“We’d like to push the Cebu city government to come up with a similar ordinance and ensure proper monitoring since the presence of these sharks in Pasil is alarming. With Cebu City’s support, we can make the entire Cebu island shark-friendly,” Cinches said.

He lauded the decision of some Cebu City restaurants to remove shark fin soups from their menu.

“We also want to strengthen the (shark) ordinances and use some of the provisions referred to in Republic Act 10654 that penalizes illegal fishers at P5 million while their equipment and fishing boats will be confiscated,”  he added.

READ: Sharks sold in Dalaguete market

Cebu 4th District Rep. Benhur Salimbangon, who chairs the committee on fisheries, expressed his support.

He said shark protection could help boost tourism in Cebu and the rest of the country.

“Most of the tourists are coming from Europe. The only reason they go to Malapascua Island in Daanbantayan is that they want to see thresher sharks,” Salimbangon said.

Cebu Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force official admitted there is a gap in enforcement of the provincial ordinance.

During the Shark and Manta Ray Ordinance Implementation Planning Workshop yesterday, Czareem Joseph Estella head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office said all market administrators must be aware of the ordinance.

“They will be held liable if there are sharks sold in the market they handle,” Estella said.

Last Sunday, shark carcass was sold in the public market of Dalaguete town in southern Cebu. However, Sr. Insp. Joseph Berondo said they could not file a case against the vendor because they could not identify the shark species.

“We cannot file a case against the vendor because we don’t know the species yet. We cannot file two charges against (vendor) for violating the national law and the provincial ordinance for humanitarian reason,” Berondo said.

RELATED STORY: Marine protected areas sought

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, Cebu city government, CITES, Daanbantayan, Malapascua Island, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office

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