SORSOGON CITY, Dec 6 (PIA) -- Protection and conservation efforts for the whalesharks or butanding in Sorsogon got another boost from the government and private sector following the gathering of all national government agencies, allied organizations, and other concerned stakeholders. The plan is to draw out plans of action to ensure the protection of the gentle giants of the sea being "vulnerable to extinction" as declared by the International Conservation of Nature.
Department of Tourism (DOT) V regional director, Maria Nini O. Ravanilla, said a three-day National Technical Conference on the Protection and Conservation of WhaleSharks in the Philippines will be held December 6-8 at Villa Isabel here that will primarily draw out the standard of operating protocol (SOP) on responding to stranded or beached whalesharks.
Nonie Enolva, team leader of Fisheries Regional Emergency Stranding Response Team under the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) V will also present the latest researches on whalesharks conducted by non-governmental organizations.
Raul B. Burce of the WWF-Philippines based in Donsol will zero in on the Introduction to WhaleSharks in the Philippines.
Photo identification of whalesharks; genetic/DNA testing ; tagging; reconnaissance of physio-chemical characteristics of the waters in Donsol; and IEC on whalesharks Bantay Butanding (The Butanding Network: A Database System) will also be expounded by the agency.
A visit to the Sorsogon Provincial Museum and Heritage Center Inc. to view the replica of the whale shark vertebrae will end the first day activity.
The second day will provide the participants knowledge on the Philippine and International laws and agreements on the protection and conservation of the whalesharks; the economic impact of whalesharks eco-tourism; Whale Shark Code of Conduct; the whalesharks eco-tourism; roles of the local governments on the protection and conservation of the whalesharks; and roles of the MFARMC .
Meanwhile the Regional Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council will present the Regional Whalesharks Stranding Response Activities and Initiatives to provide the participants the proper handling of stranded whalesharks.
Ravanilla explained that the third day will focus on the formulation of the action plan for the protection and conservation of the whaleshark in the Philippines drafted by the national agencies concerned and other participants and this will be observed as SOP in the implementation on responding to stranded and beached whale sharks. (MAL/IAG, PIA Sorsogon)
Source: Philippine Information Agency (Irma A. Guhit)