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German diver finds discarded shark fins in Cebu reefs

A German diver, based in the town of Moalboal in Cebu province, posted photos of fins cut off from sharks after a recent dive.

As seen in the video, the fins were scattered along the coral reefs off the coast of Moalboal town in southwestern Cebu.

"We were shocked when we found cut shark fins on our reef today," Kalle-Heinz Epp said in his post.

He added that local authorities were informed of the discovery.

"DENR and Tourist Police reacted swiftly and started investigations right away. They told us that, while they look for the suspect, an information drive will be set up for local fisher folks to make sure every local fisherman is aware of the protected status of all sharks in Moalboal's sea waters," he said.

It is not clear as to what type of sharks are involved but whale sharks are known to visit Moalboal town, which is a popular dive spot with colorful corals and diverse marine species.

In Cebu, the Cebu Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ordinance is in place. The ordinance bans the fishing, buying and selling of all species of sharks.

In a statement, Anna Oposa of Save the Philippine Seas said all species of thresher sharks are protected in the Philippines through Sec. 102 of our Philippine Fisheries Code.

She said the entire island of Cebu, including its two chartered cities, goes beyond that provision and protects all shark species.

"This is devastating news because thresher sharks are particularly important for Cebu because it’s a tourist attraction for divers from all over the country and all over the world," Oposa said.

"Moalboal is a popular diving destination with beautiful reefs, so the site should make more effort to protect what is supporting their local economy."

Oposo urged the local government  to take "stronger efforts in coastal law enforcement to protect what is supporting their local economy." — BAP/KBK, GMA News