A whale shark (Rhincodon typus), also known as butanding, was trapped in a fishnet near the seashore of Atimonan, Quezon on Wednesday morning.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) said the whale shark, with an estimated length of three meters, that got trapped in Barangay Angeles was eventually freed to Lamon Bay by around 30 fishermen and residents in the area.
It had no visible injuries upon its release, it added.
According to the Conservation and Development Division – Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section of DENR CALABARZON, this is not the first time that a marine wildlife was sighted in the community.
For Nilo B. Tamoria, regional executive director of the agency, the sighting of the whale shark “may indicate rich marine biodiversity in the area and we need to continue to conserve and protect the marine ecosystem.”
The sighting was a fortunate event in the area as based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, whale sharks have a decreasing population trend. They are now classified under the “endangered” category as they are at a very high risk of extinction due to rapid decline in population of 50 to 70 percent over the previous 10 years.
“Whatever we do to the forest and to the land has effects on our waters and oceans. So let’s continue taking care of them,” Tamoria said in a statement.
Tamoria is calling on the public not to touch whale sharks during encounters with them nor to feed them as doing so can alter their behavior and could pose a harmful effect on them.