Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has pushed for the enactment of a bill regulating the catching, sale, purchase, possession, transportation, importation, and exportation of all sharks, rays, and chimeras in the country.
Arroyo’s HB 8926 which is expected to have passed on third and final reading before Congress adjourns on Wednesday, aims to address the extinction of marine wildlife and achieve a balance between human needs and the integrity of the Philippine marine ecosystem. It shall provide for the conservation of sharks, and related classes, as well as the threats to their existence. The bill was passed on second reading last week.
“Sharks are typically depicted as apex predators that have significant top-down effects on food webs. They help keep prey populations healthy by feeding on weak, sick, or old fishes, and prevent overgrazing of critical marine habitats,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo added that “the removal of sharks from an ecosystem has the potential to create significant changes to predator-prey interactions, affecting the whole system. Aside from ecological benefits, sharks and rays have also been proven to boost local economies through sustainable tourism activities, and through fisheries in many developing countries.”