GERMAN INTERNATIONAL development cooperation agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has called for immediate cooperation among the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia to save endangered species in the Sulu-Sulawesi waters from overfishing and habitat degradation.
GIZ said the satellite tagging and photo identification of whale sharks in Honda Bay is the first confirmed international movement of a whale shark, which traveled from Honda Bay in Palawan, Philippines to Lahad Datu, Sabah in Malaysia, and back.
GIZ said the monitoring was undertaken by the Large Marine Vertebrate Research Institute, with the support of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)- Biodiversity Management Bureau, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and Conservation International also conducted research to show the importance of the Sulu-Sulawesi habitat for marine animals and people who depend on it for livelihood.
One of the researches, with the Sabah-based Marine Research Foundation, said there is a need to improve the protection of green turtles in the Philippines throughout their life course by forming the country’s first network of national marine protected areas for green turtles.
The 430,318-hectare network is composed of the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area and the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan, and the Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary in Tawi-Tawi.
GIZ noted that another policy study demonstrated to Tawi-Tawi stakeholders that the trade ban on the fish species cannot be lifted yet due to low population and limited information on the species. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio