THE LAW OF NATURE FOUNDATION
6-J Westgate Tower, Investment Drive, Madrigal Business ParkAlabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines 1780http://thelawofnature.ph(+632) 403-7740
24 August 2011
Hon. Proceso J. Alcala
SecretaryDepartment of AgricultureDiliman, Quezon City
SUBJECT: A proposed Fisheries Administrative Order for the protection andconservation of pelagic thresher sharks in Philippine waters
:My name is Anna Oposa, and I would liketo work with you and your Department forthe protection and conservation ofthresher sharks (
) inPhilippine waters. For the past twodecades, pelagic thresher sharks havebeen observed by divers in Monad Shoal,a shallow coastal seamount in thePhilippines, where they regularly interactwith cleaner fish. This activity is unique toMalapascua, Cebu, attracting divers,underwater photographers, and scientistsboth here and abroad.
Because these mainly oceanic sharks venture into shallow coastal waters, they have becomehighly vulnerable to fishing and finning. Just last Friday, August 12, 2011, I received a reportfrom a dive club that intercepted a boat that had come from a shark fishing expedition. The boathad a caudal fin of a thresher shark, among others. All sharks were caught between Bohol andCamiguin waters. The thresher shark was estimated to be eleven (11) feet in length and eighty(80) kilograms in weight.This is alarming because pelagic thresher sharks have been classed as
by theInternational Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources' (IUCN) Red List. Inorder to reproduce, a female shark needs to be at least 8-13 years old and a male shark 7-10years old; hence, they have low fertility rates and mature late.More importantly, thresher sharks are extremely valuable in Philippine ecotourism. A studyconducted by Simon Oliver et al. of the Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Groupshows that the value of a slaughtered thresher shark is only
8,125. Scuba divers visiting andobserving live thresher sharks pay amounts that collectively draw in over
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