Cebu told to stop whale shark feeding by touristsBy Frances Mangosing
The letter, which was in response to an e-mail by whale shark researcher Elson Aca, was sent by DENR- Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau Director Theresa Mundita Lim and addressed to the Regional Executive Director of DENR Central Visayas.
“Please be informed that the Office of Undersecretary Analiza Teh has forwarded an e-mail by Mr. Elson Aca addressed to DENR Secretary regarding the practice of feeding whale sharks by tourists and scuba divers in Oslob, Cebu,” the letter read.
“Since this practice is against protocol on whale shark watching, we suggest that your Office collaborate further with the local government in Oslob to pursue necessary actions to eventually the stop the practice of feeding whale sharks in the area,” it also said.
Aca, in a letter appeal, sought for help to stop the practice of feeding whale sharks.
Meanwhile, Aca was also assured support from the DENR and the Department of Agriculture for his concern for marine conservation on wildlife species.
“We appreciate your concern on the matter and rest assured that the DENR is continuously coordinating with the concerned agencies such as the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources as well as the concerned local Government Units including Oslob, Cebu, not to follow feeding of whale sharks and to practice low impact and environmentally friendly wildlife ecotourism practices,” the letter from the DENR read.
For its part, the BFAR also expressed appreciation for Aca’s concern and said they have never issued any permit to any entity for whale shark feeding.
“We would also like to inform you that we are in the process of amending Fisheries Administrative Order No. 193 on the protection of whale sharks, by including feeding as among the prohibited acts, as proposed by Senator Francis Escudero. We welcome any suggestions from your end on how to further improve the next,” the BFAR’s response to Aca said in a letter.