VOTE YES FOR THRESHERS
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YES FOR THRESHERS
The Philippines is the only country that can boast to having an established pelagic thresher shark dive industry. Monad Shoal near Malapascua Island, Daanbantayan remains to be the only place in the world where scuba divers can see pelagic thresher sharks almost every day.
The scuba diving industry accounts for most of Daanbantayan’s economy, securing the livelihood of many in the municipality and its neighboring communities. 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. This legislation makes the Philippines one of the few countries in the world to have domestic protections for sharks. Aside from Cebu, thresher sharks are afforded local protection in Batangas City, Panglao lsland, and Palawan. Unfortunately, it is not enough as thresher sharks could still be fished, hunted, and traded legally elsewhere. Their meat is usually consumed locally but the fins are sold internationally, mainly through Hong Kong and Taiwan, to be used in shark fin soup.
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.
Taking part in this proposal will prevent unsustainable fishing of thresher sharks as the market for their fins will now be monitored and regulated, and together with 182 parties, we will have to vote to support the proposal or not.
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 more than just for their fins. Not only is the Philippines’ YES vote important for thresher shark conservation, it would also provide the best platform to promote one of the world’s most sought-after dive experiences: the opportunity to see the pelagic thresher sharks in Monad Shoal and send a strong message to the world that our country remains as the preeminent destination to encounter these sharks. Not supporting the proposal means death to Daanbantayan's diving industry, now contributing to 80% of its economy, that visitors and locals are now benefiting from.
The Philippine delegation to the 17th CoP of CITES has the option to vote YES or NO to the listing of thresher sharks. We need to let them know that, as a country, we want our thresher sharks to be protected under CITES which will inevitably 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.
You can help make this happen by doing the following:
1. Signing our petition!
2. Visiting Malapascua Island to see the thresher shark and support the community.
3. Sharing our thresher shark posts on social media while using #SaveThresherTala #StoptheThresherHunt #PHsayYes #WORLDsayYES
YOU CAN HELP US MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Follow this campaign on Facebook at Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines
Save Sharks Network Philippines are
Balyena.org, Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, Conservation International Philippines Foundation, Dolphins Love Freedom, Earth Island Institute – Philippines, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Large Marine Vertebrate Project, Malapascua Business Operators Association, Malapascua Marine Preservation Fund, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, Oceana Philippines, Philippine Animal Welfare Society, PhilippineBeaches.org, Reef Check Philippines, The Reef-World Foundation, Responsible Tourism Philippines, Restore Outdoor Club, Save Philippine Seas, SharkLink & Divelink Cebu, Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Turtle Conservation Society of the Philippines, Inc., WWF-Philippines, and Zoox Ltd.
Photos (c) Steve de Neef
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