Stranded megamouth shark released back into the wild
Photo Courtesy: John Jacob Mendoza of PFO Agusan del Norte
A megamouth shark (𝘔𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘴𝘮𝘢 𝘱𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘰𝘴) was accidentally entangled in a fishing net of a fisherfolk, earlier today, June 6, off Butuan Bay in Brgy. Tinago, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.
The group of fishers then called for help from the local government unit to assist them in handling the shark after having found out that it was still alive.
According to one of the responders Klyd Eman Chavez, AT-Fisheries of LGU Buenavista, the megamouth shark, that was 20 feet long with an estimated weight of around 500 to 600 kilograms, was successfully released back to the ocean.
In the Philippines, it is estimated that 200 species of the sharks swim in its waters, however only 25 species are protected. Sharks and their relatives (rays and chimaera) are particularly vulnerable to threats from targeted fishing, overfishing, bycatch, pollution, habitat degradation, unregulated tourism, and climate change. These threats place almost a quarter of the world's total chondrichthyan - a diverse group of cartilaginous fishes that includes the sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras - species at risk of extinction.
On a lighter note, the Shark Conservation Act of the Philippines has been refiled in both the Senate and the House of Representatives with multiple sponsors last year. The bill proposes better conservation of threatened species, management of fisheries, stronger traceability for shark products and derivatives, guidelines for shark tourism interactions, and research into populations, among others.