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Giant Rays Butchered in full sight of horrified foreign divers

BARANGAY NAPANTAO, SAN FRANCISCO – Two giant Manta Rays which are considered endangered and protected under the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 were caught here and slaughtered by fishermen right along the shoreline of the renowned Napantao Fish Sanctuary.

According to Gunter Mosch owner of the Southern Leyte Dive Resort in Macrohon the two Manta Rays which were caught inside the Napantao Fish Sanctuary were 3 meters (or 12 feet) wide. He said they were being butchered in full sight of the boatload of horrified foreign divers who came here precisely to swim with the beautiful creatures.

Jesus Gamutan, the Executive Secretary of San Francisco Mayor Samson Gamotan, however told the Southern Leyte Times that only one Manta Ray had been caught and slaughtered.

He said the 4 fishermen who are residents of nearby Lilo-an Town were later apprehended by their Bantay Dagat and would be charged in court for violating the Fisheries Code.

The Fisheries Code or Republic Act 8550 prohibits catching, selling and possessing manta rays and whale sharks in Philippine waters.  It is also unlawful to wound or kill manta rays and whale sharks in the course of catching other fish species.(By ANTONIO M. REYES)





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