DA-BFAR'S STATEMENT ON THE WHALE STRANDING INCIDENT IN COMPOSTELA VALLEY
On March 15, 2019, a marine mammal, initially identified as a Cuvier's Beaked Whale (15.4 feet long and max. 7 feet wide), was found stranded along the coastline of Brgy. Cadunan, Mabini, Compostela Valley Province. The incident was reported to the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources XI, which immediately dispatched its BFAR XI Stranding Team, FPLEG Personnel and the PFO ComVal personnel to respond to the beached marine mammal.
Several attempts to properly ferry the beached whale to deeper waters were made, despite these efforts, however, the whale returned to shallow waters where its condition further deteriorated and eventually, died.
A composite team of personnel from BFAR XI’s City Fisheries Office in Davao City and Fisheries Management, Regulatory and Enforcement Division and D'Bone Collector's Museum performed a necropsy on the dead whale. BFAR XI collected tissue samples for scientific determination of other possible causes of death through a series of histopathologic tests. The initial diagnosis of death is INGESTION OF HUGE AMOUNT (88 pounds) OF FOREIGN OBJECTS MOSTLY OF PLASTICS AND CELLOPHANE, pending the complete result of necropsy. The animal remains is now undergoing preservation process and its bones will be preserved for educational exhibit purposes.
The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) expresses regrets over this incident, which is somehow a result of improper wastes disposal.
Following this incident, we urge the general public and all concerned government entities to support the Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan, a holistic program of the DA-BFAR, which would ensure that our seas and oceans are free of plastics and other harmful pollutants.
DA-BFAR is committed to further intensifying its monitoring and law enforcement efforts to be more responsive on incidents of marine mammal stranding and safeguard our seas from destructive activities to prevent similar occurrences from happening in the future.