Greenpeace opens shark exhibit

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


GREENPEACE launched the SOS: Spotlight on Sharks photo exhibit yesterday at the Ayala Center Cebu.

Spotlight on Sharks aims to raise awareness on the need to protect the different species of sharks that are facing extinction.

As predators, sharks maintain the balance of marine ecosystem by preying on the sick and the weak members of the prey populations, thereby preventing the spread of diseases.

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“Sharks represent the current problem that global oceans are facing, with ecosystems in decline due to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” said Vince Cinches, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines.

Rudy Balbuena, a diver for 30 years, said it is not true that sharks eat humans.

“Sharks are just like dogs in our place. They don’t mind you. Television shows are deceiving. They stay in the sea three to four days and leave meat or blood to trigger a feeding frenzy,” said Balbuena.

“The problem of killing and harvesting sharks is rampantly happening on our shores, mostly because of the lack of awareness among fishermen and also because of poor regulation on pacing and the illegal trading of sharks,” Cinches said.

Sharks are commonly known as a source of various products. Shark meat is used for fish balls, while shark’s fin can be made into soup.

The shark cartilage and liver oil can be processed into cosmetics and supplements or alternative medicine. The skin and leather can be produced into wallets, furniture, shoes and other leather products.

The teeth, jaws and skin of sharks can be turned into jewelry.

All these uses make sharks a favorite of hunters.

Provincial Board Member Thadeo Ouano and Cebu City Councilor Nida Cabrera, of the committee on wildlife, ecology and environment, attended the exhibit’s launching.

“I am happy to say the Cebu Provincial Government has shown strong commitment for the protection of sharks and other threatened and vulnerable marine species by passing relevant ordinances and enforcing regulations. We are now seeing more apprehensions and arrests of people involved in illegal fishing, trading, trafficking of protected marine wildlife and species,” said Ouano.

Cinches said that it is now the time to find another ingredient for fish balls.

Ouano said they are implementing programs from different provinces that aid fishermen to improve their source of living.

Out of 300 shark species in the world, the Philippines is known to have around 160, the most common of which is the rhincodontypus, or the whale shark (locally known as butanding).

The Shark Summit will be help in Capitol this Thursday and in Parklane Hotel on Friday. Rhea Mae Soco, USJR Mass Comm intern

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 11, 2014.

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