Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Atty Asis Perez responded to a letter of appeal by whale shark researcher, Elson Aca, to stop the handfeeding of whale sharks in the Philippines. In the letter below, Atty. Perez stated that FAO 193 is currently being amended to include the feeding of whale sharks in the list of prohibited acts.
The handfeeding of whale sharks is being practiced in the town of Oslob and some resorts in Moalboal. Researchers are concerned that the practice may change the sharks' natural behavior causing them to be more vulnerable to injuries caused by boats. Shark P-382, nicknamed Fermin and a regular in Oslob, was seen last July with serious propeller slashes across the face.
The letter of appeal to stop the feeding was forwarded last July to the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.