Whale shark found in Banago fish pen

Posted by watchmen
September 23, 2021
Posted in HEADLINE

By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga

The whale shark or “butanding” found in a fish pen in Bacolod City’s Barangay Banago over the weekend was believed to have been hunting for food, according to the Coast Guard Station (CGS) in Negros Occidental.

The Coast Guard Station Bacolod, SOU-Bacolod and MEPFORCE-Bacolod on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, conducted underwater search for the trapped whale shark but it was no longer there. (CGS-Negros Occidental photo)

P/Ensign Kimberly Albia, CGS-Negros Occidental deputy commander, said the butanding was first found by local fishermen last Saturday, September 18.

Coincidentally, Albia said the involved fish pen was owned by the brother of former CGS-Negros Occidental station chief, Commander Jansen Benjamin, who is currently the chief of staff for the Philippine Coast Guard District in Western Visayas.

According to Albia, Benjamin and a team of divers went to the fish pen on Tuesday, September 21, however, the whale shark was no longer there and it is believed that it was able to go out of the pen on its own.

The whale shark stayed in the pen for two days, and they believe that it was hunting plankton and small shrimps when it accidentally went inside the fish pen.

Albia said the divers were supposed to install a tagging device to the whale shark which would help them track and identify it in the future.

Based on further investigation by the CGS in Negros Occidental, they also believe the whale shark in Banago is part of the group of three other whale sharks that were spotted off the coast of Antique a month ago.

The presence of the whale shark in Bacolod City also shows proof that the city’s coast is still healthy.

Albia also urged the public in both the city of Bacolod and the province of Negros Occidental that they should immediately contact the PCG or the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources should they spot other whale sharks in their area.

They are also urging the public to avoid approaching the sea creature as it could easily get stressed./DGB, WDJ

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