By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY— “Do not disturb the sharks.” This is the appeal of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR-7) following reports of their presence in the coastal waters off Santander town in the southern tip of Cebu.
According to the BFAR-7, the Cebu Provincial Fishery Office (PFO) reached out to the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) in Santander to verify and to validate reports of their sightings and the tourists touching the sharks while swimming with them.
Cebu PFO officer-in-charge Edgardo Delfin said the municipal fishery technician reported that sighted were juvenile blacktip sharks scrambling for food near the shores.
The presence of these sharks does not pose danger especially to people swimming there, Delfin said. “They do not bite not unless they are threatened or harmed.” The juvenile sharks also swim away once they sense people.
Delfin said this event is only a normal phenomenon because the young sharks commonly show up in the months of February and March.
They feed themselves with small fishes and are found in the shallow waters near the marine sanctuary in Barangay Pasil, Santander, Delfin said.
“Any economic or fishing activities are prohibited at the marine sanctuary and we discourage the public from touching or disturbing the sharks,” Delfin added.
He said marine sanctuaries are there to preserve and protect these species to boost fish population and to maintain rich biodiversity.
Catching or collecting sharks is also banned in Cebu with the enactment of an existing provincial ordinance that prohibits such act. Delfin said the marine sanctuary is also guarded by the local government units in the municipality and barangay through the Bantay Dagat group.