Save Philippine Seas

Fisheries Law Enforcement Team formed in Daanbantayan

(Daanbantayan, Cebu—July 25, 2014) In line with the Municipality of Daanbantayan’s pursuit to eliminate illegal fishing activities, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region-7 and NGO Save Philippine Seas conducted a rigorous three-day training on Coastal Law Enforcement in the Daanbantayan Municipal Hall, Cebu from July 22-24. It was attended by forty Bantay Dagat aspirants from 15 coastal barangays and 2 island barangays.

The training program consisted of lectures, workshops, and hands-on sessions. Topics included coastal and resource management awareness, local and provincial legislations, mapping and navigation skills, and detection of fish caught with noxious substances and explosives. On the last day, the attendees participated in mock seaborne operations and a market visit. During the market visit, the trainees discovered at least two vendors selling fish caught with explosives. The vendors were immediately brought to the police station for further investigation, sending a strong message to the rest of the community.

“When I started my term as mayor, we became more active in going after illegal fishing operations. But more needs to be done,” said Municipal Mayor Augusto Corro during his welcome message. He was elected in 2013. “We all need to move,” he added in the vernacular.

Daanbatayan is known as a hotspot for illegal fishing activities. Dynamite fishing, poaching, and shark fishery remain rampant in the area.

Upon meeting the requirements set by BFAR and the LGU, the participants will be authorized to enforce all fishery laws, rules and regulations, and all relevant ordinances inside the territorial jurisdiction of Daanbantayan as Bantay Dagat personnel. The team is called Migo sa Iho (friend of the sharks), in reference to the thresher sharks and whitetip sharks that can be seen in Malapascua Island, one of the municipality’s island barangays. The regular presence of these sharks attracts scuba divers from the Philippines and abroad.

The Bantay Dagat Coastal Law Enforcement Workshop is one of the activities under the Shark Shelter Project, a community-based, multi-stakeholder project founded by Save Philippine Seas in Malapascua Island in 2012. The workshop was supported by USAID-ECOFISH and Globe Bridging Communities.

Volunteers for the 2014 Shark Summit needed


Shark Summit 2014: A National Roundtable Discussion and Workshop on the on the Conservation and Management of Sharks is seeking a social media correspondent and a blogger. It will be held on August 14-15, 2014 in the Cebu Provincial Social Hall.


Sharks are extremely valuable in the Philippine tourism and economy. However, to date, there are very few policies and legal instruments that protect the species and their habitats. In response to increasing concern over the sustainability of shark fisheries and trade, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) published the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA-Sharks) in 2009 after a series of national and regional consultations on the status of shark fisheries in the country. The NPOA-Sharks highlights several important issues and concerns that need to be revisited so that actionable targets will be arrived at from a variety of perspectives to further advance shark conservation and management in the country.

Greenpeace, Save Philippine Seas, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and ECOFISH Philippines are organizing Shark Summit 2014: A National Roundtable Discussion and Workshop on the on the Conservation and Management of Sharks on August 14-15, 2014 in the Cebu Provincial Social Hall. The Shark Summit aims to bring together representatives from civil society, tourism and business sectors, divers, government agencies, and the academe to discuss ways forward to protect and manage sharks in the Philippines.

Volunteers needed: 

Social Media Correspondent


Must be available to attend the Shark Summit in Cebu on August 14-15

Engaged from August 14-15

The Social Media correspondent must tweet live from the Shark Summit on August 14-15 using the @SavePHSeas account.

Interested applicants must send their Twitter username and resume to annaoposa[at]gmail[dot]com.



Must be available to attend the Shark Summit in Cebu on August 14-15

Engaged from August 14-15 only

The Blogger must write three (3) blog entries on SPS’s Tumblr account:

1)     Summary of Day 1 (August 14)

2)     Summary of Day 2 ( August 15)

3)     Wrap-up and Ways forward

Interested bloggers must send their blog link and resume to annaoposa[at]gmail[dot]com.


SPS was one of the civil society organizations present in the 108th quarterly assembly of Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries yesterday to defend the proposed Fisheries Administrative Order to protect thresher sharks. 

According to BFAR, it is “not urgent enough to be prioritized.” According to Assistant Director for Administrative Services Benjamin Tabios, thresher sharks are not “caught intentionally.” He added, “How do you tell a thresher shark na huwag mong kainin ang pain? Sige, kausapin niyo nga!” (“How do you tell a thresher shark not to bite the bait? Go ahead, talk to them.”)

SPS and its partner environmental organizations will continue to lobby for the protection of sharks and other species.

Photo by Vince Cinches of Greenpeace

Marine conservationists commend Philippine Airlines for its shark ban

PAL announcement a victory for sharks around the world

Manila, Philippines, April 24, 2014— Online pressure has prompted the Philippines’ national airline, Philippine Airlines (PAL), to publicly announce its commitment to sustainable development approximately 12 hours after a petition at against shark fin transport was launched by marine conservationists known as Save Sharks Network Philippines[1].

According to PAL’s press release, posted on the airline’s website and Facebook page on April 23, the country’s flag carrier will “formalize and strengthen a freight policy it has recently adopted to stop the shipment of shark fin in support of its overall commitment to sustainble development.”The statement also mentioned circulating “a policy for immediate implementation and strict compliance across the organization.”

“The announcement of PAL is also a victory for all sharks species who are brutally murdered for their fins. PAL, being Asia’s first airline and our flag carrier, will be taking a bold step and leading in marine conservation by ceasing the transportation of shark fins,” said Anna Oposa, co-founder of Save Philippine Seas and founder of the Shark Shelter Project in Malapascua Island. “This will also send a powerful message to the government and other airlines that the private sector can significantly contribute in sustainability efforts.”

Public awareness, combined with concerted social media efforts was instrumental to this development. PAL’s announcement against shark fin transport was a response to a call made through a petition[2] to implement a ban on carrying shark fins and other related products on all PAL flights.

In March 2014, representatives from the said network met with members of PAL Cargo to discuss shark fin transport, since the airline had no existing policies to address the issue. During the meeting, PAL said they would begin to move internally to have rules in place. They also claimed to have no data that they were transporting shark fins and related products because their cargo operations were outsourced.

The network closely monitored the airline’s activities. Last April 16, a Hong Kong-based NGO WildLifeRisk and a US-based NGO Fins Attached documented a large shipment of 136 x 50kg bags totalling 6,800 kg of dried shark fins at a Hong Kong warehouse run by a Hong Kong registered company, Global Marine.

The airway bill stickers on each of the 136 bags indicated that the shipment was handled by a Dubai-based freight forwarder, International Maritime and Aviation (IMA) and had entered Hong Kong en route from Dubai on Philippines Airlines (PAL Cargo). This was a move highly contrary to the airline’s earlier pronouncement.

The group believes that PAL picked up the dirty business of shipping shark fins to Hong Kong on the Middle East to Asia route which was commendably dropped for ecological reasons by Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

“Sharks help in maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem.  Their dwindling numbers, due to the growing demand for shark’s fin soup and other shark products, already upset the  problematic status of our seas and oceans,” said Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines. “We are asking everyone to remain vigilant and make sure that PAL will honor its commitment and advise other airlines to adopt a similar shark ban to help save our marine ecosystem.”   

 “What is important now is that PAL has publicly announced that they will commit to a total ban. The next step is to ensure that they will do so, and we are hoping to meet with them soon,” Oposa added.


  1. Hong Kong Government Census & Statistics Department data indicates that over 5,390 tons of shark fins were imported into Hong Kong in 2013, of which 14.86% was by air cargo. According to a July 2013 report by the global wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, the Philippines is a significant shark catching nation that exports about 73,320 kg. of shark products to Hong Kong annually. With the exception of a few species, shark fishing in the Philippines continues to be legal, unmonitored, and unregulated.
  2. INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Program has advised that companies transporting these fins may be implicated in a crime. Until the legality and sustainability of sources of shark fin can be adequately accounted for, the network recommend all companies involved in logistics to suspend transport of shark fin as a precautionary measure and responsible business practice.
  3. PAL’s proposed policy will make it the 18th international airline to adopt similar measures to help preserve shark populations. Other airlines include Air New Zealand, Garuda Indonesia, KLM, Swiss, FinnAir, Lufthansa, Lan Chile / LATAM Airlines Group, Eva Air, Aeroméxico, Emirates, Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Qantas & Air New Zealand.

[1] Save Sharks Network Philippines is composed of the following organizations: Save the Philippine Seas,Greenpeace Southeast Asia,Philippine Animal Welfare SocietyMarine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines,Earth Island Institute – Philippines,Restore Outdoor Club,NGOs for Fisheries Reform,Dolphins Love Freedom,Asia Center for Sustainable Future, LaMaVe Project,A2d Project,Conservation International Philippines,Fins Attached: Marine Research and ConservationWildLifeRisk, Hong KongHumane Society International,Turtle Conservation Society of the Philippines, Inc., Hon. Raymond Palatino,, and Harold’s Dive Center/Harold Mansion.

New Green Fins website: Making responsible diving accessible to everyone

One of our partners, Green Fins, has rebuilt their website to reflect the needs of users across the globe. 

The website offers quick and easy access to educational resources and top tips in the Tools and Resource section containing a bundle of free downloads. On the homepage, diving fanatics can find a live list of the top 10 most environmental Green Fins dive operators to choose from for their next holiday, or browse active Green Fins member details by diving destination. Project partners and Coordinators can log in to a database of dive centre environmental assessment data which also provides access to project management tools enabling them to oversee the project more effectively.

“We wanted to build something that helps promote the good work of the Green Fins dive centres and provide them with support and incentives to keep up the good work,” said James Harvey of the Reef-World Foundation. “At the same time, we wanted the website to be more interactive, helping diving tourists to make more responsible choices.”

Green Fins is an initiative of the UNEP and Reef-World to promote sustainable diving practices for the protection of coral reefs and marine life.

Diving tourists are encouraged to get involved in this movement and provide feedback on their experiences with Green Fins members by contacting or posting details on the Green Fins Facebook page.

Teach and Learn at the Beach: Volunteers needed for the Arts-Science Festival

SPS will be holding its 2nd Arts-Science Festival in Malapascua Island, Cebu from May 11 to 15, 2014. The Festival teaches children and teens marine conservation through creative forms and promotes creativity and appreciation of nature outside the four walls of a standard classroom.


Join the fun and spend your summer with a dynamic team of sea lovers and give back to Mother Nature! We are looking for Cebu-based volunteers who can teach the following subjects to elementary and high school students:

2 volunteers for Marine Ecosystem (high school or elementary)

2 volunteers for Climate Change (high school or elementary)

1 volunteer for Hydrology (elementary)

1 volunteer for a videographer

1 volunteer for Musical theatre

1 volunteer for Arts and Crafts Assistant Teacher

1 volunteer for Singing

Volunteer teachers must:

  1. Submit their proposed 3-day syllabus and culminating activity to Project Manager Aphol de Vera at apholdevera[at]gmail[dot]com and savephseas[at] by Thursday, March 20
  2. Have classroom management skills
  3. Contextualize lessons to fit the local setting (Malapascua or Cebu)
  4. Incorporate various interactive activities per session (e.g., games, fieldwork around the schools, experiments, group work)
  5. Conduct pre- and post-surveys to gauge knowledge and progress (Day 1 and 3)
  6. Assign an output (e.g., simple project, essay, etc.)

For good samaritans out there who would also like to join our cause but won’t be able to fit in the Festival’s schedule, we are also open to sponsors.

Should you have questions or suggestions, feel free to send us an email or contact us through our social media sites.





About Us

An independent movement organized by individuals from different fields of expertise, united by the passion to stop the abuse & destruction of our precious marine resources thru legal discourse & social media.

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