30-minute limit proposed for whale shark watching
A 1 p.m. curfew and a 30-minute time limit on whale shark watching in Oslob town, Cebu, are among several guidelines proposed by a technical working group (TWG) led by the Provincial Capitol.
The time limit will prevent stressing the marine animals, who have been getting intense public attention from tourists and local visitors since August last year.
The group headed by Provincial Board (PB) member Peter John Calderon said they will meet before month’s end to finalize the draft guidelines.
The TWG is composed of Oslob Mayor Ronald Guaren, PB member Wilfredo Caminero, the Whale Shark Watchers Organization, Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Rose Marie Vincoy and Provincial Legal Officer lawyer Marino Martinquilla.
Under an Oslob municipal ordinance, only an accredited group will be allowed to ferry tourists to the site where the whale sharks gather.
A designated whale shark watching area was also in place with buoys within the municipal waters of the town.
Steps and procedures were also laid out for whale shark watching. These include briefings for tourists at a center set up by the municipality.
After viewing for 30 minutes, the visitor will be guided back to shore.
Life jackets will also be provided for the tourist’s safety. Motor boats are now prohibited in the area. Only paddle boats are allowed. Touching and riding the whale sharks are also prohibited.
A maximum of six tourists are allowed to view for 30 minutes while a maximum of four divers is allowed to avoid crowding.
A fee of P300 per person is set for nonresidents of Oslob.
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