ChairCommittee on EcologyHouse of RepresentativesRepublic of the Philippines
RE: Revision of House Bill 174 or the Sharks and Rays Conservation Act of 2010
:The last 12 months have seen a number of laws, regulations and industry actions to regulateor end shark fishing and/or finning. There are already bans on shark fin sales in Hawaii,Oregon, Washington and parts of Canada. The Bahamas and Honduras have prohibitedshark fishing in the last two years. Last week, the California Senate also voted to ban thesale or possession of shark fins. Today, the Florida Fish and Wildlife ConservationCommission banned the killing of tiger sharks and three species of hammerhead sharks.The Philippines, known as the center of marine biodiversity on Earth, is falling behind. HouseBill 174, or the Sharks and Rays Conservation Act of 2010, filed by Representative GloriaMacapagal-Arroyo, has been pending in Congress since July 2010. Senator Loren Legardasponsored a similar bill in the Senate, but also pending since it was filed in December 2010.Your Honor, it is imperative that we protect these species for a number of reasons. First andforemost, sharks and rays are extremely valuable in Philippine ecotourism. A studyconducted by Simon Oliver et al. of the Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Groupshows that scuba divers visiting and observing live thresher sharks in Malapascua, Cebupay amounts that collectively draw in over
6,000,000 per annum. The consistent earlymorning presence of the pelagic thresher sharks on the Shoal drives the local dive andtourism industries, fuelling about 80% of the regional economy. The value of a slaughteredthresher shark is only
8,125. However, the lack of policies makes killing such speciesacceptable. Just last month, August 12, 2011, I received a report from a dive club that
The Law of Nature is the international name of The
Foundation, a duly registered non-profit organization to advanceEnvironmental Law education, compliance and enforcement (SEC Reg. No. A200209645, June 14, 2002).
Shark slaughter in Northern Philippines