Philippines seeks ban on killing and trading of sharks and rays

Philippines_flag_sharkPress Release

House of Representatives of the Philippines

25. November 2014


P1M-penalty and 12 year-imprisonment for killing sharks and rays

Writer: Jazmin S. Camero, Media Relations Service-PRIB

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure banning the catching, selling, purchasing, possessing, transporting, importing and exporting of all sharks and rays in the country.

Rep. Francisco T. Matugas (1st District, Surigao Del Norte), chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said the bill should ensure the maintenance of ecological balance and marine biodiversity for the benefit of present and future generation of Filipinos.

The authors of House Bill 5206 are Reps. Sherwin T. Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela City) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga).

“Pursuant to the objectives of the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, the State’s policy is to conserve, protect and sustain the management of the country’s shark and rays population,” Matugas said.

“Although sharks and rays have not been officially declared endangered, its population has drastically declined over the years not only because of environmental decline but more importantly, over fishing for human consumption,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian said selling and serving of shark’s fin soup and all food menus with sharks and rays by-products shall be prohibited.

Under the measure, it is unlawful to harm, kill, catch, sell, purchase, possess, export and transport sharks and rays in Philippine waters.

Sharks and rays, which are accidentally included in the catch in the course of catching other species of fish, shall be immediately released unharmed to the sea.

Killing, destroying or inflicting injury on sharks and rays imposes a penalty of a maximum imprisonment of twelve years and a fine of not more than P1 million or both.

Catching, selling, purchasing or possessing of sharks and rays, and their by-products and derivatives is punishable by a fine of not more than P500,000 or a maximum imprisonment of 12 years, or both.

Transporting, importing and exporting of sharks and rays, and their by-products and derivatives imposes a fine of not more than P300,000 or a maximum imprisonment of 12 years, or both.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) shall be the lead agency in the implementation of the proposed Act.

The bill mandates the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to conduct a nationwide information and education campaign to inform the people of the value of sharks and rays in the marine ecosystem, and the importance of preserving their respective habitats and feeding grounds.

The DOT and the Philippine Council for Sports Scuba Diving shall provide the necessary assistance to the BFAR, DENR and local government units (LGUs) in identifying the habitats and feeding grounds of sharks and rays and declare the same as protected.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcing agencies and the LGUs shall assist the BFAR and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Source: Media Relations Service, Public Relations and Information Bureau


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