Bohol hosts 3rd Shark Summit

Thanks and no thanks to the movies that depict the sharks as diabolical creatures of the sea, the enmity between sharks and men is almost shown in the gory death of a shark, almost all the time.
Evil as they are depicted, sharks are indeed apex predators, but like storms, they bring new life and balance the ecosystem, that is what movies do not show.
Bohol Boholanos to better understand sharks and the vital roles they play in the ecosystem, Save Sharks Network Philippines is bringing to Bohol the country’s 3rd Shark Summit in time for the Shark Conservation Week, November 12-16.
Bohol is considered as one of the marine key biodiversity in the country because its marine water is rich in flora and fauna, shark species among them.
Considered the center of the center of biodiversity and with temperate waters that are home to a whole lot of species, Bohol waters have also attracted sharks, which are either hunted or chased off.
Home to several reef sharks, threshers, from the gentle giants which have become million-peso tourism industry in nearby Oslob to the cookie cutter sharks that also help control the population of dolphins, Bohol waters and its tourism potential has brought the celebration of 2018 Shark Conservation Week here.
Ecotourism activities around sharks are starting to affect the economy.
In Pamilacan then a whale shark could fetch about P200,00when caught by a fisherman. But with dive tourism or whale shark interaction, a single whale shark could bring in over a million through the years.
And a live shark today would mean a much better checked marine ecosystem, an invaluable resource that would feed communities.
Here, organizers think Boholanos could be very strong partners in conserving sharks.
Selected to host this year’s 3rd Shark Summit that will run from November 12-16, 2018, Bohol also becomes the hub of various activities Save Sharks Network Philippines (SSNP) have lined-up for this activity.
And to get the widest possible participation, organizers have opened the activities for all.
In fact, by November 12, Save Sharks Network Philippines (SSNP) is inviting everyone to join them and beat the record for most number of Baby Shark Dancers on site. This would be at 4:00 PM at the Carlos P. Garcia Sports Complex in Tagbilaran City. Participants may come in costume, organizers said.
The first Shark Summit happened in Cebu in August 2014, where there was a historical gathering of policymakers, government officials, conservationists, divers, scientists, advocates, and students to identify challenges and solutions in shark conservation.
The two-day event sprung two years of shark campaigns and projects, a policy to protect all shark species in Cebu.
The 2nd Shark Summit happened in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental in November 2016.The 2nd Shark Summit led to a nationwide campaign to list shark and ray species in Appendix II of CITES, the creation of the 2020 Shark and Ray Conservation Roadmap of the Philippines, stakeholder consultations which involved listening and dancing to “Baby Shark” on loop, and advocating for shark conservation bills in the Senate and House of Representatives.
So, why would there be a need to conserve sharks?
Sharks are apex predators, and as such, they play an important role in the ecosystem by maintaining the species below them in the food chain and serving as an indicator for ocean health, according to
They help remove the weak and the sick as well as keeping the balance with competitors helping to ensure species diversity.
“As predators, sharks shift their prey’s habitat, which alters the feeding strategy and diets of other species. Through the spatial controls and abundance, sharks indirectly maintain the seagrass and corals reef habitats.”
The loss of sharks has led to the decline in coral reefs, seagrass beds and the loss of commercial fisheries.By taking sharks out of the coral reef ecosystem, the larger predatory fish, such as groupers, increase in abundance and feed on the herbivores. With less herbivores, macroalgae expands and coral can no longer compete, shifting the ecosystem to one of algae dominance, affecting the survival of the reef system.
On the same dates,mural artists and eco-lifestyle advocate Anina Rubio with the Bohol Baji Arts Collective will lead a community painting mural in Tagbilaran City from November 13-15.
For law makers, the activities also include Shark Conservation Legislation Toolkit launch. The Legislation Toolkit is a template for local government units intending to craft shark conservation laws in their own contexts.
Another group, Large Marine Vertebrates (LaMaVe) Research Institute Philippines is hosting the Shark Science Session on November 14, 8:00AM-12:30PM in Holy Name University, where 30 students, government officials, and interested early career researchers, and shark enthusiasts are invited for lectures on sharks and rays ecology, biology, anatomy and field research, as well as a chance to practice hands-on on anatomy and necropsy techniques on real sharks.
A Youth Forum on Oceans and Sharks: Anak ng Pating, also brings students and youth organizations members for an interactive learning experience at 1:00-5:30PM on November 14 at the University of Bohol.
Save Philippine Seas will also lead a multi-stakeholder meeting role-play of a Senate hearing on shark policies, and session on writing local and national legislators to support the shark bill. Email your school, course, and age to confirm. Deadline for registration is Monday, Nov. 12.
The week also will see the first public screening of The Atom Araullo Specials: Shark Land, which originally aired on GMA7 in May 2018.
In this film, award-winning documentarist Atom Araullo traveled to different parts of the country to take a close look at how the sharks industry has been shaping and thriving: Donsol, Oslob, Mercedes, and Daanbantayan.
Altogether, the weeklong events attempt to boost shark conservation and management for the years to come under the framework of the 2020 Roadmap, organizers said. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

The largest marine animal, the whale shark and its interaction has become a million peso ecotourism industry, the same as the thresher sharks of Malapascua Cebu and the hammerhead sharks of Cabilao are potential income generators, when these are conserved. (PIABohol)

Submit a Comment