Archive for the ‘Megachasma pelagios’ Category

Kinunot—Bicol’s shark food & the way to environmental conservation

April 8, 2009

Bicolanos have a delicious way of cooking sharks.—fresh slices of the shark’s meat boiled with thick coconut milk, vinegar, chilies, and corns of black pepper. With a dash of salt, the native dish kinunot is accented with green pepper leaves or malunggay (Moringa.) They give the tropical cuisine its tasty flavor and smooth aroma when eaten with hot rice.

That’s what the fishermen of Donsol, Sorsogon did to a wayward rare megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) caught recently in the coast of Burias Island, a wildlife haven of whale sharks (Butanding,) dolphins. and giant manta rays. The sea hunters were out to fish for the usual bounty of the sea, but what they got last March 30, 2009 was an astounding surprise.

According to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF,) the huge shark was the only one so far found in Sorsogon-Masbate, a fascinating area located in southern tip of Luzon in the Philippines. Measuring 4 meters long and weighing about 500-kg, the impressive fish with blue-gray exterior could be the 41st of its kind reported in the world.

“The first specimen was caught off Oahu, Hawaii in 1976. So different was it from all other sharks that it necessitated the creation of an entirely new family and genus – prompting the scientific community to hail it as the 20th century’s most significant marine find – rivaling the rediscovery of the coelacanth in 1938,” —WWF. Philstar (04/07/09 Andraneda, K)

Evidently, many people of Bicol didn’t know the significance of their unexpected catch which unfortunately ended up in the cooking pan. Kinunot is tasty and very nutritious. Other than being food in the dinner table, conservationists however were quick to educate the townspeople of megamouth shark’s bigger importance.

The WWF are working with Sorsogon and Masbate to protect the habitat of the endangered sharks and other precious treasures of the sea. At the same time the evnironmental group helps in developing eco-tourism which which is friendly to the animals and brings livelihood to the residents of the area.(Photo Credit: WWF/ Philstar) =0=

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