Saving Thresher Sharks campaign October 12, 2016, an update from Save Sharks Network Philippines:

Thresher sharks are now protected globally after being voted into Appendix II of CITES last 3 October 2016 which regulates international trade. Under Philippine fishery laws, they will be automatically protected in the country when the listing takes effect by October 2017. In addition, all Thresher sharks are now protected globally after being voted into Appendix II of CITES last 3 October 2016 which regulates international trade. Under Philippine fishery laws, they will be automatically protected in the country when the listing takes effect by October 2017. In addition, all mobula rays and the silky shark have also been listed in Appendix II.

We are proud to report that the Philippine delegation, led by Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Atty. Adobo was the first among nations to champion the listing of thresher sharks into CITES.

Reference: Sharks and rays get international and PH protection thru CITES vote

In the aquatic world, a symbiotic relationship exists such as a clownfish (remember the movie Nemo) and sea anemone, where one could not survive without the other. I suppose the same can be said of the island of Malapascua and thresher sharks. Believe it or not, saving thresher sharks is a part of the solution to crime.

Typhoon Yolanda (International Codename: Typhoon Haiyan)

The strongest typhoon ever recorded to make landfall was Typhoon Yolanda. As a result, the devastation was catastrophic. One of the places ravaged was the small island of Malapascua, located on the northern tip of Cebu.

Most of the people living on Malapascua Island derive their livelihood from tourism. While the island has a beautiful white sand beach, it is more known for scuba diving. Besides earning from beach lovers and scuba diving, other ways people earn include souvenirs.

Thresher Sharks

Malapascua has several world-class dive sites. But one, in particular, is unlike any others. An underwater plateau called Monad Shoal looks unremarkable. But it is the only place in the world where thresher sharks are seen on a regular basis.

Saving Thresher Sharks

As scary as sharks are to the uninitiated, thresher sharks are fragile animals. In other countries, fishermen hunt thresher sharks for their fins.

Here in the Philippines, we have laws protecting thresher sharks. In return, the islanders of Malapascua earn from tourism.

I see that as a symbiotic relationship between the sharks and the people who live on that island.

Duterte’s Crackdown on Drugs and Crime

Since Duterte’s assumption of the presidency, the war on drugs rages. Local and international critics have questioned the president’s methods. Some argue that the crackdown is a short-term solution to a long-time problem of poverty.

Imagine the island of Malapascua without the thresher sharks. After the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda, how were they to survive?

But because of the thresher sharks, tourists and especially divers visiting sustained the locals.

My point is that saving the thresher sharks is saving Malapascua. For as long as the islanders have a source of income, those are people who stay away from crime.

You and I Can Make a Difference

The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will hold the Conference of Parties (CoP) 17 on Sept. 24 to Oct. 5, 2016.

The Philippines is pushing for a petition to have thresher sharks listed on Appendix II. This is to protect the thresher sharks from unsustainable fishing methods. Furthermore, there will be monitoring on the sale of fins.

Saving the thresher sharks can ensure the survival of the species. So that for the people of Malapascua, they’ll have the means of livelihood from tourism.

You and I can make a difference. It doesn’t matter if you live in the Philippines or someplace else. All you need to do is to visit the following links and taking action. It would not take too much of your time. And you can make a difference in the lives of people who depend on thresher sharks for livelihood.

Link 1: Thunderclap – Filipinos’ Treasured Threshers

Link 2: Change – Philippines Vote Yes for Threshers

Thank you, David Ferro and his friends Janette Toral and Anna Oposo for bringing this to my attention.

Friends, please leave a comment once you have visited the two links provided and share your thoughts.


  1. I will help sending this campaign. I agree we all have shared responsibility for whatever will happen in the world. And all of us can make a difference. Keep on writing and sharing your advocacy to make this world a better place.

  2. I love how you use your voice in social issues like this. I understand that you are once a diver so you’re very fond of these sea creatures. I signed the petition because I believe in your cause and how you love these creatures. I hope someday, people will know what their actions lead to. Do we still have to wait before they become extinct? Kudos to you for doing your part!

    • Maaya,

      Once upon a time, I was an avid professional diver and yes, I have a far better appreciation of the aquatic world and the beautiful marine life. I also have a fair understanding of how breaking the cycle of nature could be catastrophic. Thank you for signing the petition.

  3. I’ve signed the petition. Little effort for a great cause! The survival of the thresher sharks is already motivation enough to join. A big plus that people from Malapascua have a means of livelihood from tourism. It would be such a shame if the thresher shark would become extinct. We can’t let that happen. I’m sorry to also hear about all the damage caused by the typhoon. It’s a good thing that people now are making a difference and help the people from the Malapascua. Everyone should watch the videos as well!

    • Carola,

      Thank you for supporting the campaign to have these thresher sharks protected internationally. It doesn’t matter where one is from. All thresher sharks in the world will have great benefit, and indirectly, are the people.

  4. We should take better care of our planet. I have actually swam with sharks a while ago, during my travels in Malaysia and I was impressed by their beauty. And yes, I did it sustainable, I did not disturb at all the natural habitat of the sharks or try to touch them (that would be dumb anyway). I felt so peaceful just swimming above them and looking at them (they were a friendly species, not interested in humans). So I ask myself… why do we kill them?

  5. As a 20+ year veteran scuba diver, I completely understand the need to protect our marine life. Threshers are amazing animals and as you say quite fragile and deserve our respect and protection. Doing the right thing is not just good for the environment but also the locals who depend on the tourist dollar. I’m sure that they would really struggle without it.

    • Allison,

      Now we have more things in common to talk about. I hope to visit your blog and read about your scuba diving experiences. You are absolutely correct. The greatest predator in the history of the world has always been, and remain to be, the humans. It is one thing to consume for food as a necessity, but when the reason why thresher sharks and others are being hunted is an exotic dish, that becomes a social issue when it comes to the livelihood of people who depend on the maintenance of the balance of nature.

  6. Social media is very powerful. We need not go to the streets to be heard. I just love how you accommodated this in your blog. Such a noble cause. I signed the petition and is ready to be part of this.

    I’ve been to Daanbantayan in Cebu about three years ago and have seen how Typhoon Yolanda destroyed the place. Anyway, I’ve heard stories of fishermen selling sharks (wasn’t even aware that perhaps what they were referring to were the threshers sharks) as their means of living. I never gave much thought about it. Now I got the whole picture. Thanks for the enlightenment as well.

    • Berlin,

      Yes, local fishermen are known to fish for sharks and other endangered species for short-term profit. However, I believe that the awareness of the importance of protecting endangered species is higher now than in previous years. If we can only protect the marine life better and better, let me tell you – assuming all the corals and mangroves are intact, we can supply half the world’s demand for fish.

  7. This is a good advocacy and I would love to take part. We can enjoy our dominance over animals without harming them. It is just sad that we are taking our planet for granted. Let us all start creating a better earth for the future generation! Thanks, Sir Robert for sharing this and for opening our eyes. 🙂

  8. I’ve signed the petition because the threshers need protection. And as a human, we need to protect, conserve and to raise awareness not only about the sharks but also about our mother earth. If we don’t fight for them, who will? Thanks for sharing this great advocacy

  9. I’ve signed the petition and I hope it’ll reach the goal. Also shared this to my friends. Thanks for sharing this with us as well, if not for this post, I won’t have any idea about thresher sharks. The power of social media is a great tool for much-needed campaigns like this.

  10. I had not even known about thresher sharks and I am so happy that again I was able to learn from you by reading one of your posts. I support this campaign as well as the message being sent out into the world. We need to take care of our planet and all that lives in it. If we all join together I strongly believe a difference can be made! I signed the petition and vote yes for threshers!

  11. I signed up and shared it on various platforms and to my friends! I remember supporting one campaign regarding #iNowPH and another campaign else. I’d always support causes like this because it entails our country and our natural resources. I just hope that by sharing and signing this petition, it will reach its goal and be able to save the threshers!

  12. The best way to use the power of social media is thru this kind of campaign. I love Cebu and I believe it can maintain its beach wonders and sea creatures by the help of people like you. I signed up and will definitely share it with my friends. Most of them are divers so I am sure it will touch their souls to participate quickly.

  13. I already signed up on the petition to save the Thresher Sharks. Just looking at the video, I see a magnificent creature under the sea. It’s amazing that this kind of shark is always seen in Malapascua. I can see how important these sharks are for the livelihood of the people in that area. Without livelihood and looking at the current state of that island, it’s going to be tough for them.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this. I first knew Anna Oposa from the case Oposa v. Factoran but I have been exposed to environmental concerns at an early age. My dad used to work as a Safety and Pollution Supervisor. He often tags me along in conventions. This is as serious as Pres. Duterte’s campaign against drugs and everyone should be well informed about it. Voted and shared. It feels great to have joined this campaign. 💪

  15. Joining this campaign! Will sign the petition in a bit. We, Filipinos are really blessed to live in such beautiful country filled with natural resources. In our recent trip to Bohol, my boyfriend kept on noticing how our fellow Filipinos are working for foreigners who decided to live and start a business in Bohol. He is happy that the locals have a job but is sad at the same time that the locals have to work for foreigners in our own land.

  16. It’s my first time of hearing about Malapascua and the presence of thresher sharks in it. This is a great advocacy. We not only have to protect thresher sharks because of local tourism. But it’s also because we need to protect these endangered species. I’m sure they are needed in the food chain one way or the other, but not their fins in our stomachs. I vote yes for saving thresher sharks.

  17. This is a good strategy to help spread the word about Thresher Sharks. I’ll sign the petition after this. I visited Cebu recently and part of my plan is to see Thresher Sharks in Moalboal. Sadly, we didn’t have time and that I got scared. It’s still a shark LOL.

  18. My friend Roxane is also an advocate for this program. Sharing this information. I do hope my diver friends will also share this, thank you for sharing this about Malapascua’s advocacy and the need for the thresher’s sharks lives.

  19. Article worth sharing. Please, people, let’s do our best to save them. I have never been to Malapascua and it is one of my dream destinations for diving. Let’s keep them alive so our future generations can enjoy what we have today!

  20. Thanks for sharing this concern in your blog. I will also sign the petition. We all need to do our share to help protect our environment. I actually have pending manuscripts of children’s books about sea creatures. It’s my way of helping raise awareness on how we can all contribute in our own little way.

  21. Hi, Robert! Amazing how you made that connection. Truly, saving the environment is really saving our species. It’s as close to being superheroes as we can get. I hope to see these thresher sharks myself, too!

  22. I’ve always been concerned about the environment may it be the thresher sharks or any other species. I applaud you for posting and bringing this topic out on your blog. Will do my share and sign.

  23. Signed up for the petition. I personally believe in paying it forward in any possible way we can. This is a great advocacy, Robert. We ought to be more environmentally conscious, contributing to sustaining ecological balance, especially with how the locals of Malapascua benefit from the influx of tourists wanting to see the thresher sharks.

  24. I have supported the campaign and signed the petition. I hope I can make a difference in helping to save these thresher sharks too. Thanks for sharing this, and motivating all of us to do our part too.

  25. I know I often receive newsletters from different petitions and sometimes see myself signing up. A natural disaster like typhoons, hurricanes, tsunami, etc., are awful events. It destroys lives but also messes with the ecosystem when it’s terribly strong. And mankind usually don’t help either. Thankfully with the internet and nowadays, more people decide to protect where they live and what’s around them. Petitions are the best, quickest way to mobilize a big number of people. I always loved sharks, and I hope this will work. For the eco-system and the tourism of the island

  26. Wow! This is a great advocacy! I will also sign the petition. My mom went to Daanbantayan after Yolanda and she was very sad about what happened to the place. Filipinos must support this petition since we have a beautiful country to cherish. I’m glad that you speak through social media so that everyone can know what was happening. Thank you for this advocacy!

  27. Being a travel blogger and a Cebuano myself, I could not find a reason not to support this noble cause for the benefit of my fellow Cebuano and the travel industry as a whole. I believe that we all exist in a symbiotic relationship. With high hopes, this petition will serve its purpose and others to take their part.

  28. This is beautiful. This goes to show that in this world, we ALL need each other. It’s never humans against animals… cause I’ve seen it before. If we treat everyone with kindness – even animals – this world will definitely be better.

    I signed and shared the petition. I was wondering if we can bring this up to local media networks? What do you think? Maybe we could get them to promote the cause too. 🙂 Thanks, Sir Robert and more power!

  29. I will share this petition on my Facebook account. I think what you are doing is really important and I also think that you’re right about everything being connected to everything and that one change can impact another. It would be really sad for us all if thresher sharks will disappear from the island of Malapascua. I hope it will be prevented.

  30. I love how you have dedicated a small space on your site for such a beautiful cause. It demonstrates that not only are you a true leader with a strong voice, you are most importantly a kind-hearted individual who cares.

    The more I have traveled the more I have come to appreciate how gorgeous and yet fragile this world is and all its creatures within. Keep up the incredible work Robert!

    (A signature from me and my partner! 🙂 x

  31. I am glad that a lot of people are now aware of what’s happening to our nature and the animals that surround it.

    The Philippines is rich in marine life but it is so sad to learn that these things are happening.

    I will definitely join the battle in saving thresher sharks!

  32. Wow, interesting article. I had no idea about this, or that a shark with a long fin in the picture could look like this.

    You did a great job shining a light on this situation. I will sign the petition!

  33. Wow , what an imposing appearance these sharks have, I have seen a lot of different sharks, but never seen one like that one. Not much to say about saving animals, I am a huge animal right supporter. Speaks for itself that I have signed both the petitions and shared your post widely to create awareness. Your images are brilliant, well … as always 🙂


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