PH Gov’t Should Prioritize Marine Biodiversity Conservation —Dr. Malayang
“This country is a water world. We have more water than land.”
Silliman University President Dr. Ben S. Malayang III stressed during the last day of the 2nd Shark Summit held at the Guy Hall in Silliman University on November 11.
Dr. Malayang said that because of such a fact, it is important for the country to give top priority to the biodiversity found in the seas including that of sharks which is considered to be the “apex predator in the structure food chain of our marine ecosystem.”
He added that the country has 220 million hectares of territorial waters, with only 29.8 million hectares of land.
Aside from its size of water compared to land, Philippines has the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world. Ecologically, it has the most number of coral species per square area.
Sharks, Dr. Malayang added, provide the principal mechanism for check and balance of population therefore ensuring the structural stability of our marine ecosystem.
These predators are also among the oldest species that have resisted evolutionary changes thus giving great potential value as genetic resources. The genetic constitution of the shark is very unique that humanity should make it a genetic heritage for all human kind. That makes sharks even more important as objects for conservation in our country.
Dr. Malayang said that the University values the hosting of the 2nd Shark Summit.
Silliman University, in fact, since as early as the 1970s has embarked on programs that would look at the marine and aquatic environments in addition to looking at terrestrial environment.
The 2nd Shark Summit was the highlight of the “Shark Conservation Week,” hosted by the University’s Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences (IEMS), in partnership with several marine conservation groups such as Save Philippine Seas, Save Sharks Network Philippines, and the Foundation for the Philippine Environment.—Michael G. Ramo, SU Research and Environmental News Service