September 18, 2016


Sharks matter. A critical part of marine ecosystems, Sharks in general are a fascinating and beautiful species. Sharks have been around for more than 400 million years.

Now, marine wildlife and habitats are severely imperiled. Congested with pollution ranging from plastics to derelict fishing gear, the oceans have become a veritable minefield for marine species.

The Philippines is the only country that can boast to having an established pelagic thresher shark dive industry.

Thresher sharks are farmed in some areas for their value as both a recreational sport fish and for commercial products derived from their flesh. 

The presence of thresher sharks has turned Malapascua Island into a major dive tourist attraction, helping the local residents to recover after the devastation that tropical typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) brought to many parts of the country in 2013.

In the province of Cebu, sharks are considered valuable for both their ecological and economic value that the province issued a Resolution protecting all sharks and rays in all its municipalities and established the Philippines’ first shark and ray sanctuary in Daanbantayan. 

Unfortunately, it is not enough as thresher sharks could still be fished, hunted, and traded legally elsewhere. 

However, there is an opportunity coming up that could ensure protection of thresher sharks through the regulation of its international trade. This happens on 24 September to 5 October 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa when all three species of thresher sharks are being proposed to be listed on Appendix II of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at their Conference of Parties (CoP) 17. 

The Philippines is in a unique position to push for the protection of the thresher sharks as we are the only country that values these sharks for more than just their fins. 

Not supporting the proposal means failing to safeguard Daanbantayan's tourism industry, now contributing to 80% of its economy, that visitors and locals are benefiting from.

The Philippine delegation and other governments attending the 17th CoP of CITES has the option to vote YES or NO to the listing of thresher sharks. 

I believe that we need to let the delegates know that we want our thresher sharks to be protected under CITES, which will automatically protect them in Philippine waters.

If this proposal passes, all trade in thresher sharks would be required to be sustainable – a policy that would go a long way in ensuring their survival for generations to come.

Being part of taking action to save sharks, we have to make sure they are being treated with respect!

We need to save sharks before it is too late. Being a responsible makes a difference to our world. We should make sure marine wildlife not disturbed nor harmed.

You can help make this happen by doing the following:

We can make a difference in our country. We can help to save our Earth Sharing our thresher shark posts on social media while using :

 #SaveThresherTala #StoptheThresherHunt  

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