By Marisol Bo-oc, Helen Castaño | 10:20 PM January 21, 2023
The fishermen of Loay and Alburquerque towns in Bohol province would visit the Sangguning Panlalawigan next week to air protest on whale shark feeding in their areas.
Calino Permoso, 44, president of Alegria Sur Fishermen Association (ASFA) in Barangay Alegria Sur, Loay town, said they don’t want the presence of whale sharks, locally known as “tuki-tuki” or “butanding”.
“Dili mi uyon naa na sila diri dapita,” said Permoso.
ASFA has at least 34 members.
Permoso said they discovered last year that two unidentified men from Pamilacan Island were feeding the whale sharks with bolinaw (anchovy) on a daily schedule in the protected area.
They are hand-feeding the animals with anchovy to lure the animals to stay in the area.
At least five to eight whale sharks as big as a pumpboat are spotted in the seawaters off between Loay and Alburquerque.
These, according Permoso, are competitiors. He said they used to catch 30 pail of anchovy. Now, their catch became scarce.
Anthony Silagan, 43, said they would be thankful they could have five kilos of anchovy in a single catch.
“Gikaon naman sa tuki-tuki ang mga bolinaw mao wala nay mahibilin namo,” he added.
There were times that their boats and fishing nets were destroyed by the sea creatures.
The fishermen want to stop feeding the butanding so that it can swim freely in the area they want.
“Undangon na ang paglawagwag ana aron malikayakan nga mudaghan ang butanding dinha. Kung magsige lawg dinha di mag- anam kadaghan ang butanding. Wala mi kahibaw inig kadaghan magpabilin ba na diri. Kung magpabilin na diri inighapon maglisod nami pagkuha sa bolinaw, ” said Roque Bagnol.
“Dili gyud mi mouyon nga ilahang ipadayun ang ilang gibuhat ana kay dako kaayo nga apektar namo. Dako nga epekto sa among panginabuhi,” said Permoso.
Fishermen added that the whale shark watching in the neighboring town of Lila, at least 6 km from Loay, is enough already for an attraction.
According to World Wild Life, whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the largest shark, and indeed largest of any fishes alive today. They feed on plankton and travel large distances to find enough food to sustain their huge size, and to reproduce.
Whale sharks are protected from fishing in many countries these days, but are in decline in some areas.