According to a recent study,
“Sharks kill 12 people a year…”
It breaks my heart to write this but I have to…
SHARKS FOR SALE IN PALAWAN
Me: Manong, anong dala nyo ngayon? (Sir, what did you bring today?)
Manong: Pating. Masarap lagyan ng gata. (Shark. It’s good with coconut milk)
Me: Ahhhh… (</3) (Heartbreak like being busted by the one you are courting for a month). (I pretended to be curious and as if it was my first time to see sharks being sold)
Manong: (shouting to the man about 30meters away who just got out of the house) Boss! Ulam, bili ka na. Pating. (Boss! Food, you want to buy? Shark)
Me: Manong, di ba bawal yan? (Sir, do you know that it is prohibited?)
Manong: Oo nga, bawal ito. (Yes, I know this is prohibited.)
Me: Kayo po ba humili nyan? (Are you the one who caught that?)
Manong: Ay hindi, huli ito sa lambat. Ako lang naglalako. Galing nga ako dun sa may pulis outpost. Sabi nag nila bawal ito. Pero wala naman akong magagawa, nahuli na, patay na ito nang makuha sa lambat, sayang kung itatapon. Ibenta nailing makakain pa. (Nope. Fishermen got this through net fishing. I’m only middleman. Actually, I just came from the police station and they said this is prohibited. But what can I do, this is already dead when it arrived on the port? Instead of throwing this away, might as well sell it for food to gain some money. )
Me: Ganun po ba? Pwede pong picturan? (Ahhhh I see. Can I take photos?)
Manong: Sige. (Sure)
Me: (Runs to get my camera)
Manong: Madami nyan dito. Kumakain din ng tao yan. Pero kapag maliit pa, tao muna kakain sa kanya. (We have lots of shark here. Sharks eat human too but while they are still small, we are the ones who eat them.)
Me: Magkano po ang kilo? (How much per kilo?)
Manong: Kwarenta lang yan, mahigit dalawang kilo yan, Otsyenta nalang para sayo. (Php40, less than $1 a kilo. This is more than 2 kilos but I’ll give it at Php80, less than $2)
Me: Sige lang po, dun ako sa malilit na isda. (I’m sorry, I don’t eat shark. I’ll buy the small fish instead.)
We just celebrated EARTH DAY yesterday and then this situation is a SHOCKER. This is one of the times where I can get angry and furious but can’t blame Manong or the fishermen. I actually feel sad and wants to look deeper into their plight.
Some questions came to mind:
What is Bantay Dagat doing? How about BFAR? I believe the LGU knows about this illegal trade of these protected species but this is still happening in the open light (UPDATED: Sadly, this specie of shark is not considered illegal. Please read the comments below, specially Steve’s and Jean’s. Thanks). 3 days ago, a friend of mine told me that they sell juvenile sharks in the public market. I believe that everyone involved in this trade (from the fishermen to the buyer) knows that is is already prohibited to buy or eat shark but still continue to do so. I guess they are just not aware that these creatures play an important role in the eco-system and how taking their lives can drastically affect the environment and sea life. Sharks being a predator play an important role in the food chain.
What to do?
I believe something has to be done here, ASAP. I believe this is happening around the Philippines as i have been a witness of situations like this in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. For one, I want to educate the next generation of the importance of sharks and taking care of the environment as a whole. I want kids to learn about our fragile ecosystem. I dream that someday, sharks will be treated as friends not food. I’m a licensed diver and I’m yet to encounter a shark. How can this be possible if I continue seeing sharks for sale in the market? I want my kids to see the sharks where it belongs not in tanks or aquariums. So I will do everything I can to save them. I hope there will be workshops to facilitated in the schools when classes resume.
I have yet to think of a good project to counter this illegal trade of sharks in Palawan. For now, I’m writing about this to make everyone aware of the situation. I know this breaks your heart too but we can do something about this.
I already forwarded this concern to the mayor of the town. I believe she will do something definitive about this. 🙂
Please share the article and help me bring this issue to the eyes of everyone.
Sharks are friend not food.
to continue the quote above,
“People kill 11,417 sharks an hour.”
That’s f*cking 97.5M sharks killed by human beings a year.