Philippines Sen. Loren Legarda yesterday called for the passage of a proposed measure prohibiting the catching of sharks, saying the absence of such law could lead to the extinction of the species. Currently there are no laws that protect sharks in the Philippines and fishermen are regularly engaged in the barbaric act of shark finning.
The practice of shark finning involves the removal of the fins, mostly whilst the sharks are still alive, and the finless shark is thrown back into the sea to die a slow and painful death. The fins are then used for Shark Fin Soup.
“Clearly, the absence of a law forbidding the catching of sharks gives people the courage to continue the practice, which could eventually lead to the extinction of shark species in the country, especially that they reproduce slowly,” Legarda said. “Sharks, as predators of the sea, play a vital role in regulating the ecological balance, particularly the health of important commercial fish species, population balance, and protection of coral reefs. Being a country with about two-thirds of the known marine species of the Pacific living in its coastal waters, the Philippines plays a crucial role in protecting marine species,”
The Senator also stated the facts that millions of sharks are killed every year and that some shark populations have declined by as much as 90 percent.
Legarda said this concern could be addressed with the enactment into law of Senate Bill 2616, which seeks to banning the catching, sale, purchase, possession, transportation, importation and export of all sharks and rays or any parts of these animals. The bill also proposes to declare unlawful the wounding or killing of sharks and rays, unless there is threat to human life or safety.Shark fin soup and the selling of shark’s fin will also be prohibited to eliminate the demand that results in the massive killing of sharks.