By John Rey Saavedra

MEGAMOUTH SHARK. A dead megamouth shark is washed ashore in Southern Leyte. Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Central Visayas technical assistant Johann Tejada on Monday (Nov. 20, 2023) advised the public not to worry about the latest phenomenon where shrimps and megamouth sharks emerged at the shoreline in three different places in the Visayas as it has no connection with the earthquake that struck parts of Mindanao on Nov. 17, 2023. (Screenshot from Facebook video)

CEBU CITY – A fishery technician of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Monday said the appearance of tiny shrimps and megamouth sharks along Leyte and Negros Oriental shorelines has no connection with the 6.8 magnitude quake that struck portions of Mindanao last week.

Johann Tejada, technical assistant of BFAR-Central Visayas, said the washing ashore of crustaceans was a sign that the biodiversity of the coastal water is clean thus complementing the marine life in an area.

Tejada made the comment following videos that went viral on social media showing residents gathering shrimps along the shoreline of Barangay San Vicente in Hindang, Leyte.

“One reason is the complex dynamics at sea. In general, quality seawater has an impact on marine life. Quality seawater also means food that can make the marine life in an area productive,” Tejada said in Cebuano.

He also said the emergence of megamouth sharks found washed ashore at District 2 of Silago, Southern Leyte, and Barangay Domolog in Bindoy, Negros Oriental could not also be associated scientifically with the earthquake that struck Sarangani last week.

Another megamouth shark was washed ashore in Aurora.

Giant fish would usually wash ashore if their navigational sensory organs went dysfunctional and became disoriented while chasing their food such as small fish and shrimps, he said.

“Marine mammals are the most vulnerable to being washed ashore due to diseases from ingesting garbage at sea,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tejada said there is no existing red tide ban on Cebu coasts following a negative test result in Madridejos seawater.

He also said that the “closed fishing season” covering sardines, mackerel, and herrings – which took effect on Nov. 15 and will end on Feb. 15 next year – in the Visayan Sea was to allow these species to propagate. (PNA)