Monday, March 13, 2017

PPOC wants BFAR
explain sanga ban

TAGBILARAN CITY, March 7 (PIA)--Clearly at a loss of explanations on the ongoing ban on hunting rare, threatened and species in danger of extinction, Bohol Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) requests the country's lead agency implementing the ban for enlightenment. 

Governor Edgar Chatto, PPOC Chairman and himself a witness to the rampant roadside and market sales of dried "sanga" meat in Jagna town, intends for the council to also be fully appraised of the nuances among banned sanga (giant manta ray), ordinary manta ray species like smoothtail mobulas (pantihan), spinetail mobula (binsowan), the giant pacific devil rays, sting rays and still the smaller species that are cooked and sold as exotic food. 

A Pamilacan resident and a PPOC member Engr. Camilo Gasatan also admit that because sanga commands a high price, even the smaller non-banned species are called sanga when dried to fetch a high price.

Those who do not actually know may eat other smaller manta ray meat, sold as sanga, he said. 

In fact, many Boholanos still keep an open craving for nilabog sanga, banggis, ang sinugbang buwad sanga despite a ban on hunting, taking, catching, gathering, selling, purchasing, possessing, transporting, exporting, forwarding or shipping out aquatic species listed in the appendices of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). 

Also included in the ban are those categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as threatened and endangered as determined by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

Incidentally, the giant manta rays (sanga) are listed under Appendix 3 or those which are endangered species close to extinction. 

But while the country drafts the ban on manta rays, then Fishery officials thought there is only one kind of giant manta rays here: manta birostris, they put in the ban. 

Subsequent research however revealed that aside from manta birostris, a similar specie in the CITES includes the manta mobular and the mobulids that also frequent Philippine waters. 

The ban for the other species of mantas and mobulids start this month, fishery officials reacting to FAO 193 revealed. 

And because recent scientific assessments show that their population in the wild cannot remain viable under pressure of collection and trade, offenders would face a fine equivalent to three (3) times the value of the species or Three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00) to Three million pesos (P3,000,000.00), whichever is higher, and forfeiture of the species.

And upon conviction by a court of law, the offender faces imprisonment of five to eight years and a fine equivalent to twice the administrative fine and forfeiture of the species.

But even then, net fishers in Bohol usually string up long lines and find the banned manta rays as by-catch. 

When found entangled in their nets, fishers try to salvage the meat than throw them in the sea. 

By possessing the meat, these fishermen now earn the culpability that would get them steep fines and jail time. 

The continuing trade of dried meat has also pushed for the patronizing of the illegal product, majority of those who east it, uninformed about the ongoing bans. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Following the apprehension of the persons responsible for transporting over a ton of manta ray meat set for drying, the PPOC needs the BFAR now to elucidate on the ban for taking the giant manta rays, considering that there appears to be a rampant trade of manta rays and sting rays in city and town markets across the province. The ban also incorporates steep penalties for the guilty, fines reaching millions. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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