Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, October 20, 2006

MOA inked between BFAR, Ocean Adventure

For conduct of training on handling stranded marine mammals

The Ocean Adventure in Subic does not only offer wholesome family recreation through its trained dolphins that are doing acrobatic maneuvers but is also helping increase awareness on how to save stranded marine mammals.

Wayne Phillips, the Australian vice president for zoological operations of Ocean Adventure, said his company signed a memorandum of agreement with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as part of their efforts to share their know-how in handling beached cetaceans, such as dolphins, whales and other marine mammals.

Incidentally, Ocean Adventure has been operating for six years now at Subic and hosting some 250,000 people yearly, 90 percent of whom are from Metro Manila.

"We are happy and proud to be associated with this (saving mammals)," Phillips told newsmen, prior to motoring to San Fabian town with his team to conduct a lecture before fishermen and personnel of the BFAR on how to properly handle stranded cetaceans in order to save them from death.

Philipps and his group of Filipino veterinarians had earlier been to Region II for the same mission aside from the fact that BFAR personnel are going to their headquarters at Subic to seek information on what to do in case cetaceans get stranded on their shores.

He said this was necessary because a number of cetaceans have landed on the shores of the Lingayen Gulf in the past months.

Of those that landed, 13 had died and were buried at the country's lone fish cemetery at the premises of the National Integrated Fisheries Technobiology Development Center here.

The lecture was part of the series conducted by the BFAR central office in connection with the observance of the Fish Conservation Week in Pangasinan, particularly in the coastal town of San Fabian.

Philipps said the activity also enabled Ocean Adventure to expand further its own Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which serves as a special hotline or conduit for rescuing stranded dolphins, whales and other cetaceans.

Ocean Adventure wants to create teams of trained rescuers in various parts of the country who know how to handle and treat stranded mammals and put them under their care for days before releasing them back to the sea.

"In the Philippines, we have different species of marine mammals and persons do not usually know what to do if they found a stranded one," Philipps admitted.

Awareness is very important, according to the network, because when a marine mammal "strands," this means that it is helpless. Without help, the animal will die. (PNA)


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