APARRI, Cagayan, July 13, (PIA) - - - Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources region 2 in partnership with the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network (PMMSN) conducted a two-day training on marine mammal stranding response here to train fisherfolk and partner agencies on the proper procedures in rescuing stranded marine mammals such as dolphins, whales and dugong.
Participated in by members of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC), fishery officers of coastal municipalities, representatives of some National Government Agencies (NGAs), students and academe, the training taught participants on the basics of how these marine mammals live, how to properly and effectively respond to the stranded marine mammal and other necessary information relative to stranding response.
Stranding as defined by Dr. Lemnuel Aragones, president of PMMSN, is the situation where a marine mammal is on the beach of our aground in a helpless situation or caught in a net or has the capability to swim back to its normal habitat.
On his part, Dr. Leo Suarez, treasurer of PMMSN, emphasized that the main reason for stranding response is not on conservation but for the welfare of the stranded mammal.
“We need to be responsible for our actions and consequences,” Suarez said as he urged the participants to be compassionate and emphatic with the animals following some incidents of people butchering stranded marine mammals.
Reports revealed that since 2005, there are 715 stranding events in the country of which 68 were stranded in the coastal areas of Cagayan making this province the number 3 on the list of the top 21 hotspot provinces in terms of stranding events.
When asked by Provincial Fishery Action Officer Venchito Villarao, on what is the implication of these figures particularly in this province, Aragones said the figures only represent the actual numbers of reported stranding events for the past 10 years and this not necessarily mean a weak stranding response in the region.
“These numbers would also indicate that there are many marine mammal resources in Cagayan but this is for further study,” he added.
Despite the fact that many stranding events were not reported due to reasons such as marine mammals were stranded in an inhabitant island, seen but not reported and many others, Suarez said Philippines has still a high survival rate of 23% compared to the global data on survival of 2% to 4%.
"This is now the result of the conduct of the series of trainings on stranding response by our organization in partnership with BFAR as the chair & DENR as the co-chair," Suarez said.
The training ended up with simulation of stranding response at the beach which allowed some participants to act as the stranded marine mammal and others as first responders. (MDCT/PIA 2 - Cagayan)