Davao Oriental News – Save Philippine Sea Cows

The city government of Mati, Davao Oriental here has organized a multi-agency and sectoral task force to protect and save the sea cows following the death of three of its kind after getting caught in fishermen’s net and drowning.

Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat said the local government must rally the support and help of local residents to guarantee the protection and preservation of the marine mammals and other marine resources in Dahican and sea waters in Mati.

“The public should be watchful in the protection and preservation of marine resources and save the endangered marine species,” she said.

Members of the task force composed of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology and the City Government of Mati convened with the stakeholders at the Dahican Beach in Barangay Dahican, Mati on Wednesday.

The group established a task force and discussed long term solutions for alternative livelihood as training programs, develop tourism potentials and to protect and preserve the different marine mammals that are present in the Dahican sea and agreed to establish an e-group to continue the exchange of ideas among members and enable to work more effectively over a larger scale through time. The core group of residents also agreed to fully cooperate to make this plan become a reality.

Sea cows, locally called “dugong”, swim in the shallow coastal waters of Dahican where they find protection from large waves and storms. They surface only to breathe. They like to live in large herds, but due to declining numbers are often now found in smaller “family” groups of between three to six members. It may reach three meters in length and weigh almost 500 kilograms.

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