• Marine scientists studying biodiversity

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    LEGAZPI CITY: Foreign and Filipino marine scientists are closely studying the importance of biodiversity in Burias Pass, home of rare and endangered species in the world.

    Burias Pass is located between Albay and Masbate provinces where a rare megamouth shark was trapped and fished out by the fishermen of Marigondon, Pioduran town last January 28.

    Alessandro Ponzo, an Italian marine scientist and current director of Large Marine Vertebrates project in Philippines, told The Manila Times that they’re studying Burias Pass as this area is very important in terms of biodiversity in the country.

    Ponzo, along with Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Director AA Yaptinchay, flew in Legazpi to lead the necropsy of the rare megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) that was fished out of Catandulan Point near Donsol.

    The necropsy of the rare megamouth shark was also assisted by Dr. Florencio Adonay, Albay provincial veterinarian officer-in-charge and Dr. Evelyn Saberon of BFAR 5 as well as Dr. Recio veterinarian experts here.

    The waters in Burias Pass is known as plankton rich with a constant current, traits that make it ideal as an alley for other pelagics like Whale Sharks, Thresher Sharks, Hammerheads, and Tiger Sharks.

    “The Burias-Ticao Pass is considered a very productive fishing ground and home to a rich assemblage of some important apex species like sharks, rays, dolphins and whales. But, ironically, it is heavily exploited and identified as an area of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) not to mention the old practice of butchering and eating protected fish species by the local folks,” said Dennis del Socorro, BFAR regional director in Bicol. Del Socorro said there is a need to enforce stricter fishery laws and regulations thru regular sea patrolling, monitoring, control and surveillance to curb illegal fishing practices in the Bicol waters.

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