Thresher sharks killed in Moalboal by fisherfolk

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag June 18,2016 - 10:39 PM

The head of a thresher shark was found floating in the seawaters of Moalboal town, a favorite dive spot in Cebu for its rich marine resources. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/MALYN MAYORGA)

The head of a thresher shark was found floating in the seawaters of Moalboal town, a favorite dive spot in Cebu for its rich marine resources. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/MALYN MAYORGA)

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 that have come to populate its seas and thresher sharks 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 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.

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TAGS: Cebu, corals, fisherman, Moalboal, thresher shark

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