Hontiveros, Ejercito seek strong protection of PH marine ecosystem
Hontiveros, Ejercito seek strong protection of PH marine ecosystem
Hontiveros, Ejercito seek strong protection of PH marine ecosystem
by Daylight Abas27 December 2022
Photo courtesy: Senate of the Philippines

The number of sharks, rays, and chimaeras in the Philippine seas has decreased as a result of illegal fishing and a lack of legal understanding.

By introducing Senate Bills (SB) Nos. 1193 and 1554, which respectively "regulate the capture, sale, purchase, possession, transportation, importation, and exportation of sharks, rays, and chimaeras," Senators Risa Hontiveros and JV Ejercito hope to safeguard the three marine species.

According to SB 1554, just 25 of the approximately 200 species of sharks have national protection under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.

The bill's explanatory note stated that "the conservation of sharks, management of their dangers, and construction of shark sanctuaries will serve as an example that can be reproduced with other fisheries and wildlife conservation challenges in the country."


In an effort to strike a balance between the demands of the people and the integrity of the Philippine marine ecosystem, the bills reinforce the nation's commitment to safeguarding and preserving its maritime biodiversity.

“Despite the lack of understanding on the sharks' various roles in ecosystems, it is clear that they are key players in structuring food webs, whether they are at the top of the food chain or at lower trophic levels,” SB 1193 read.

“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."

The measures forbid, among other things, the trading of vulnerable, threatened, endangered, or critically endangered species, the killing of sharks, crippling or impairing their reproductive systems, harassing or disturbing sharks and their habitats, and finning.


They also forbid collecting, hunting, possessing, importing, exporting, or re-exporting sharks.

It will apply to all Philippine waters, including other waters over which the Philippines has sovereignty and jurisdiction, as well as the country's 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf, including protected areas under the National Integrated Protected Areas System, critical habitats, and all Philippine-flagged fishing vessels operating in areas governed by a Regional Fisheries Management Organization.

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