A whale shark (Rhincodon typus) was sighted last August 23 in Lamon Bay, Atimonan, Quezon.
At 10 in the morning, residents of Barangay Angeles, Atimonan, Quezon spotted a whale shark trapped in a fishing net near its seashore. According to the report of DENR-CENRO Calauag personnel, the whale shark appeared to have an estimated length of three meters and has no visible injuries. More or less 30 fisherfolk, concerned residents, and local barangay officials helped release the whale shark into safer parts of Lamon Bay.
According to the Conservation and Development Division - Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section of DENR CALABARZON, this is not the first time a marine wildlife was sighted in the community. Regional Executive Director Nilo B. Tamoria says, “this may indicate rich marine biodiversity in the area and we need to continue to conserve and protect the marine ecosystem. Kung ano ang ginagawa natin sa kagubatan at kalupaan, ay magkakaroon din ng epekto sa ating katubigan at karagatan. Kaya patuloy natin itong pag ingatan”.
Further, RED Tamoria is calling on the public not to touch a whale shark when encountering one. It is also advised not to feed the species as it can alter their behavior and could pose a harmful effect on them.
Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, whale sharks have a decreasing population trend and are classified under the Endangered (EN) category – a designation applied to species at a very high risk of extinction due to rapid decline in population of 50 to 70 percent over the previous 10 years. Meanwhile, identified major threats to whale sharks include fisheries catches, bycatch in nets, and vessel strikes.