In 2011, I had a dream to start a community-based, multi-stakeholder project in Malapascua Island, Cebu. The dive site called Monad Shoal, about 30 minutes away from Malapascua, is the only place in the world where thresher sharks can be seen almost everyday because of their unique…
Anna has been my friend and (f)inspiration and it’s been amazing to see, first-hand, the progress that the project is making. It was an idea, now it’s shaping towards a reality.
Follow through on your ideas…you never know where you’ll end up!
Sorry I haven’t been posting much original material lately… my time has been enveloped by Zoox and Green Fins work (as jobs tend to do) over the last few months, and as always it has been incredibly rewarding.
A highlight was a project of one the Zoox volunteers who managed to pull together a week of clean ups around various dive sites and beaches around Puerto Galera, Philippines.
In total, 205 people participated over the week, and we managed to collect a whopping 953.5 kg of rubbish and throw in a whole load of local community awareness about marine debris.
Organizing a clean up is much more than meets the eye, especially if you want to count what you have collected, or are trying to organize various people or town garbage trucks to meet you at a certain time. But it doesn’t have to be a big event. Take a picnic at a beach with friends, and after you clean up your mess, go and pick up the rest and see what the weirdest thing you can find is.
On one dive this week, I found everything I would need for for my own picnic including a rug, umbrella, crockery, cutlery and beer (a bit salty but so was the rest!). It’s unbelievable what finds it’s way into the ocean, but when you are faced with the reality of it being right there in front of you, it helps reinforce actions when you are dry again.
It’s thought that 80% of the trash in the ocean comes from land. And that’s not just beach-side communities, thats you and me, and family and friends. Let’s start there, with what we can easily change, and hopefully we can inspire others to start making a difference too.
Grace Peliño (Fisheries Coordinator, Puerto Galera, Philippines) on community outreach and awareness of environmental issues.
This megamouth shark was fished in the Philippines on April 21, 2013. The megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) is an extremely rare species of deepwater shark, so rare that only over 50 sightings have been recorded since its discovery in 1976.
Of the now 56 megamouth sharks recorded worldwide, 11 specimens (20%, most numerous next to Japan) come from the Philippines.
The megamouth is the smallest of only three filter-feeding sharks (the others being whale sharks and basking sharks).
Photo from CJ Fives for Butuan Bay Divers.
It’s lovely to hear from Filipinos interested in their oceans!
1. We’re an archipelago, and rely heavily on coastal resources. This means government departments like DENR and BFAR have jobs in the marine sector. And I reckon they can do with some more marine biologists. Not to mention the thousands of NGOs that are conducting research and community work around the country. Tips: Study hard. Get experience - do volunteer work, take internships, start meeting people in the field of work so you have a netword of contacts to start helping you out.
2. I guess it depends on your budget, but UP have good programmes around the country. Siliman has an excellent reputation. If you want to move from Manila there are other options too. I know University of San Carlos Cebu has a marine biology department. Do some research online, ask your friends if they know anyone who takes the course and ask their opinions.
3. Check out Save Philippine Seas - they do a lot of advocacy work in Manila (have you seen the mural in EDSA?). If they don’t have anything for you, ask nicely and they can point you in the right direction!
4. You’ll have to approach the Universities to find that information - sorry I can’t help you there.
Please don’t apologise about asking questions! It’s a great trait to have, and don’t stop - it’s how we learn.
Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan, Philippines
by Samantha Craven
Coron Island, Palawan, Philippines
by Samantha Craven
It’s been an awesome few days, learning, networking, and getting distracted by the view. Updates to follow!
Pintuyan fishermen on the water fishing for squid as the sun sets over Sogod Bay. This is the super beautiful scene from just outside our house. x
I can’t wait to visit this LAMAVE project in Leyte! Real **wild** whale sharks and everything!
- Waves on the shore.
- Hammers downstairs. Like every morning.
- Cats playing in the roof of my room. Yes in it. Lots of them.
- Kids playing on the beach.
- Cockerels (I can’t emphasise this enough).
- Someone sweeping.
- Someone clearing their nose!
- Pots and pans being washed.
- At least two radios. One of which is playing ‘Ganggam style’. Again.
- Kittens meowing.
As a Cebuana, I can say this.
Yes, it’s only in Cebu. The only place in the world to actively feed whale sharks. What for? A tourist attraction.
The only place in the world that puts profit above the long term effects of feeding a highly migratory, vulnerable to extinction, fish.
The only place to really cheapen what should be a breathtaking experience with one of nature’s Giants. By conditioning them to beg at boats like puppy dogs.
The only place where people complain about only having a 30 minute viewing time with, at times, up to 14 sharks a day.
I’m a proud Cebuana, but not about this. Yes. Only in Cebu.