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50th Fish Conservation Week stamps from the Philippines

50th Fish Conservation Week stamps from the Philippines
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As one of the celebration highlights of the 50th Fish Conservation Week, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in partnership with the Philippine Postal Corporation launched a series of commemorative stamps featuring endangered and/or threatened fish species. These designs were taken from the winning entries of the last year's BFAR's Fish on the Red List Painting Competition.

The first stamp features a painting of a Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)with a Giant Manta Ray(Manta birostris) and silhouettes of four Scalloped Hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) behind it. One of the five marine turtles found in the Philippines, Green Sea Turtle or pawikan swims in sub-tropical and tropical seas. This species is Endangeredunder the IUCN Red List and included in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I because of illegal trades and poaching. To conserve and protect this species, DENR Administrative Order No. 2004-15, Republic Act 9147, and Section 97 of Republic Act 8550 are properly implemented by the government.

Moreover, like sea turtles, giant manta ray or pagi inhabits warm waters globally.

Because of overfishing this species are listed Vulnerable by the ICUN and protected under the Fisheries Administrative Orders 193 and 208, Republic Act 9147, and Section 97 of Republic Act 8550. Furthermore, the scalloped hammerhead sharks also live in warm waters but because of overfishing and high demands for their fins as an expensive delicacy their population decreased over time. Aside from being listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List, a number of countries also agreed to sponsor a proposal to add this species to Appendix II of CITES to provide further protection last October 2012.

The second stamp is inspired by the painting of a Dwarf Pygmy Goby (Pandakapygmaea). Tabiosand bia in vernacular tongue, Dwarf Pygmy Goby is the smallest fish in the world by mass and are endemic in the Philippines. However its population vanished or became extinct due to heavy pollution and land reclamation projects. Dwarf Pygmy Goby is listed as Critically Endangered under International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List. The third stamp employs the painting depicting the largest fish in the world known as Whale Shark or butanding. Scientifically named as Rhincodon typus, Whale Shark is a migratory filter feeder that lives in all tropical and warm-temperate seas.

Despite its huge form, whale shark is a peaceful species and do not show any significant threats to humans, it even let divers to swim alongside thus making it a big asset in ecotourism such as that at Donsol, Sorsogon. However, due to frequent seizures and illegal trades its population depleted and now considered vulnerable under the IUCN Red List while endangered based on the CITES Appendix II. This species is protected under the Section 97 of the Republic Act 8550, Republic Act 9147, Administrative Order 282, Fisheries Administrative Orders 193 and 208, and CITES Appendix II.

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