Monday, August 6, 2012

Whale Shark Awareness Campaign And Protection Program Was Launched By DOT After Broadcasting An Image Of Tourists Riding One

By Frank D. Gardner

Whale Sharks Are Among The Top Tourist Attractions

DOT or Department of Tourism - a ministry of tourism encouraged the public and regional government agencies in the protected marine areas, specifically where the whale shark species (Rhincodontypus) are common and in its presence to learn how to behave and find out about marine conservation.

According to Tourism Minister, Ramon Jimenez, "Tourism must exist together with the protection and conservation of marine animals, and should encourage public awareness and provide training for people to act effectively and properly deal with wildlife and in order to avoid interference with the natural behavior of animals like the whale shark."

Soon after photographs from visitors stroking and even riding on a whale shark on the island of Cebu circulated, Jimenez's order was issued. In deep water, the fishermen's nets caught the whale shark. The moment the fishing vessel reached the coast, the fish was to be released however, once there, a local business man paid the fishermen to held the shark captive and make it as a tourist attraction. The images led to a lot of protests from environmentalists.

Though it was let go after two hours, the whale shark was wounded in the head and tail, reported sources from the BFAR or Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

The guidelines are to be fulfilled by both parties concerned in protecting their natural resources, and to educate the public on matters of protection of the marine ecosystem, added by Jimenez.

The DOT stated it has had contacts with BFAR representatives to give assistance with the preparation of a caravan which will travel the coast throughout the month of May, called the ocean month, in order to sensitize the people regarding the marine wealth protection.

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