Don't touch blacktip sharks spotted in southern Cebu – fisheries bureau

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources' Central Visayas office reminded the public not to touch the blacktip sharks recently spotted off Satander town in southern Cebu.

Santander is only a few minutes away from Oslob town, where whale sharks have become a tourist attraction.

Cebu's provincial fisheries officer-in-charge Edgardo Delfin said that the sharks came near the shore to look for food.

Delfin said the public should not be afraid of the sharks, which began appearing in Satander in February. 

"People should not be afraid. The presence of these sharks does not pose danger especially to people swimming there. They do not bite not unless they are threatened or harmed," he said.

This particular breed of shark, Delfin said, would swim away if they sense people.

In areas like Florida in the US, however, there have been cases of unprovoked atacks of blacktip sharks on humans. They tend to encounter people as they look for food in shallower waters.

The area in Santander where the sharks were spotted is a marine sanctuary, where economic or fishing activities are not allowed.

BFAR said that while the sharks may prompt locals to turn their town into a tourist attraction, they appealed to the public to not disturb them.

A provincial ban also does not allow endangered marine life to be disturbed.

Environmental advocates have also campaigned since the early 2010s to discourage the public from feeding whale sharks in Oslob town. (READ: Oslob's shark tales–

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.