THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (Bfar 7) has urged the public not to touch or disturb the sharks spotted in the coastal waters off Santander town in the southern town of Cebu.

Following reports of the presence of sharks, the Cebu Provincial Fishery Office (PFO) reached out to the Municipal Agriculture Office in Santander to verify the sighting.

Cebu PFO officer-in-charge Edgardo Delfin said the municipal fishery technician identified the sharks as juvenile blacktip sharks looking for food near the shores. These young sharks feed on small fish, he added.

“People should not be afraid. The presence of these sharks does not pose danger especially to people swimming there. They do not bite, unless they are threatened or harmed,” he said, adding that the juvenile sharks usually swim away once they sense the presence of people.

Anticipating that the presence of sharks will attract more tourists in the area, Delfin appealed to the public to avoid disturbing the sharks.

Delfin said the sighting of the sharks is normal because these marine creatures usually show up in the months of February and March.

The sharks have been found in the shallow waters near the marine sanctuary in Barangay Pasil, Santander. Any economic or fishing activitiy is prohibited within the marine sanctuary.

He said one of the main purposes of marine sanctuaries is to preserve and protect these species to boost the fish population and to maintain the area’s rich biodiversity.

Catching or collecting sharks is banned in Cebu under an existing provincial ordinance that prohibits such act.

Delfin said the marine sanctuary is being guarded by the Bantay Dagat group of both the municipality and barangay. (PR)

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