SORSOGON CITY – In a province like Sorsogon whose local government units (LGUs) cover wide coastal territories, the right protocols to be observed in handling cases of stranded marine mammals should be a public expertise, a marine life conservation official based here on Friday said.
“With the frequent cases of marine mammals stranding in the province, trainings that would equip local officials, government fishery sector workers, marine life conservation stakeholders, fishermen or the coastal communities in general with the skill in properly responding to such emergency situation should be conducted at once,” according to Enrique Espiritu, the Provincial Veterinary Officer (PVO).
Through this know-how, Espiritu said stranded sea mammals would be immediately rescued and properly attended to towards the realization of a sustained conservation and preservation of marine biodiversity.
The Philippines, according to the scientific data recorded by the Philippine Marine Mammal Network is home to 26 species of whales and dolphins. Sorsogon stands out in the conduct of the study since it is home to the famous whale shark (Rhincodon typus) locally known as “butanding,” that is now considered one of the best ecotourism attractions in the world.
The province’s municipal waters include San Bernardino Strait in the east, Albay Gulf in the north and Ticao Pass in the west where a series of marine mammal stranding cases involving whale sharks, dolphins and tortoises have already been recorded, Espiritu said.
The latest of these cases involves a 300-kilogram Indo-Pacific bottle-nosed dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) found over the week by fishermen at the municipal waters of Matnog and attended to by Mayor Emilio Ubaldo and his municipal agricultural officer Elvira Pantone.
The sea mammal that is considered among the endangered marine species was promptly released back to the open seas following documentations by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
“It is high time that our public officials and agencies involved in the protection and conservation of our marine mammals and the public as well be well-aware on their roles and functions in saving our rich marine resource,” the PVO stressed.
Institutionalizing the right protocols on how LGUs can immediately respond and address cases of marine mammals stranded in the locality is also an answer to climate change mitigation and adaptation since marine mammals are great indicators on its effect, he added. (Danny O. Calleja/PNA)