Marine park with whale shark and adjacent to sardine fishery

Published online in July 2012

Marine park with whale shark and adjacent to sardine fishery

Victor S. Soliman, Raul B. Burce


The aim of balance between conservation and capture fishery is understood yet elusive. In a coastal town in the Philippines, Donsol, considered the “whale shark capital of the world”, its coast also supports a commercial sardine fishery. A portion of its coastal waters has been declared a marine conservation park while most of it is still open to fishing. An assessment of the sardine fishery showed high exploitation rate. Bottom-set and drift gillnets are the major sustenance fishing gears. Commercial fishing vessels operating purse seine were also reported in the area. Regarding the whale shark or Butanding ecotourism, tourism officers perceived warming of coastal waters which they observed to have affected whale shark occurrence. Whale shark and sardines appeared swimming along the same path in coastal waters because they both feed on zoopankton. Small-scale fishers revealed that they intentionally avoid whale sharks while fishing because their nets and boats can be destroyed when the large fish swim at them. They contend it is the large fishing vessels that can potentially hurt whale shark when hit by their boats. The local government assisted by an international NGO has been pursuing measures to protect the largest fish and the fishers through an integrated marine resource management program.

Proceedings of the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, Cairns, Australia, 9-13 July 2012



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