DONSOL, Sorsogon: Rising temperature due to adverse impact of climate change and fecal contamination are two major factors that drive away the gentle giant fish in the world in this coastal town, Alan Amanse, chairman of the board of the Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO) told The Manila Times.
“For the past two years, the presence of butanding in Donsol waters is dwindling because the sea temperature is getting hotter from 26 to 27 ideal temperatures now reached to 29 to 30 degrees based on dive computer measurement due to climate change,” he said.
Aside from rising temperatures, another factor that contributed to declining numbers of the gentle giant fish in the world is the presence of Escherichia coli or E. coli, strain bacteria from animal and human wastes that flow down the mouth of Donsol River.
Amanse a former fisherman turned as BIO admitted for the first time the low sightings of whale shark for the last two years in the waters of Donsol following hotter temperature aggravated by bacterial contamination from toilets and piggeries constructed along the river banks of Donsol River.
Whale shark locally known as the butanting is an edentate fish which eats only plankton and small fish like dilis but grows to an enormous length of up to 50 feet and can weigh up to 40 tons.
The most popular butanding in the waters of Donsol among the visiting tourists and BIOs were nicknamed Putol, Curly, Lucky and Nognog. But Nognog and Putol are no longer spotted according to Amanse as the duo had been gone due to old ages.
Putol is the biggest measuring 14 meters long and two meters wide while the rest are of normal size at eight-meters long, Amanse said.
Councilor Rey Aquino, Donsol committee chairman on tourism said that butanding sightings dwindle following massive catching of dilis—the main food of giant fish.
Amabe de la Cruz, Donsol revenue collector told The Manila Times that the declining presence of whale sharks since 2011 generated lesser income.
She said that in 2011, at least P3.8 million were generated from visiting tourists and in 2012 slightly increased by P4 million; this year they collected only P2 million.