Live or cooked sting rays widely known as kyampaw in Cebuano are displayed in ordinary stalls and restaurants anywhere in Cebu in broad daylight.
Flat sharks or rays are considered protected species under the Amended Ordinance No. 2014-15 or the Amended Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ordinance of Cebu. The ordinance aims to enforce conservation and protection of fisheries and aquatic resources in the territorial jurisdiction of the province of Cebu.
Section 6 of the ordinance included cartilaginous fishes which are divided into two distinct groups: the true sharks and the flat sharks (rays).
Based on CPAIFTF records, many market stalls were seen selling said species these past few months.
Task Force Operation Officer, Col. Lyndon Ruiz, said they have already given warnings to violators.
“If these violators are unable to abide to the warnings given, then confiscation of illegal endangered species will be done and appropriate sanction will be given,” Ruiz said.
The CPAIFTF is mandated to address threats to the marine environment in coordination with member agencies, and spearhead enforcement operations to address illegal activities.
Recently, CPAIFTF confiscated stingrays from sellers during an inspection (July 13 and 14) in the wet markets of Mandaue City and Tabunok, Talisay City.
The Task Force said it will continue to conduct more operations to catch traders of these species whose population has decreased drastically.
Further, intensive information and educational campaigns (IECs) are implemented in cities and municipalities to keep them abreast with latest ordinances regarding this matter.
Ruiz said that the independent district which includes the cities of Cebu and Lapu-lapu should have coordination together with the Province.
“Since they have their own jurisdiction and freedom to implement ordinances, there is a need for close and agreed collaboration between the two cities and the provincial government to meet common goal,” he said.
Ruiz also emphasized the importance of the media as a vital partner in the pursuit of the Task Force’s mission by way of amplifying the advocacy of protecting and preserving marine life. (Cris Lanie delos Reyes with CIT intern Cassandra Yu)