Sharks in the Philipines: Legislation

Stamps Howard,
Kala Mulqueeny

The Philippines is a signatory to a number of treaties and conventions protecting sharks:

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)
  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • The Philippine Fisheries Code (1998) states that the Bureau on Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has to work with local government units (LGUs) because LGUs have power to plan, legislate, generate revenue, and enforce laws. LGUs can only invite BFAR to give capacity building, etc.

    In 1998, the Bureau on Fisheries and Aquatic Resources under the Department of Agriculture issued the Fisheries Administrative Order No. 193 series of 11998, which prohibits the taking, selling, purchasing, possession, transportation, and exportation of the said species.

    Sharks and Rays Conservation Act of 2010, House Bill 174

    House Bill 174, or the Sharks and Rays Conservation Act of 2010, was filed by former President and current Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Under the Arroyos’ bill, violators face six to 12 years imprisonment and fines ranging from P100,000 to P1 million. She was praised by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia for this initiative.

    It has been pending in Congress since July 2010.

    The Shark Fin Bill, House Bill 5412

    In October 2011, Rep. Aliah Dimaporo filed a revised bill, House Bill 5412 or the Shark Fin Bill. It was referred to the Committee on Ecology in November 2011.

    Senator Loren Legarda sponsored a similar bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 2616. It has been pending since it was filed in December 2010. This bill can be read here: Senate Bill 2616.

    In February 2012, Senator Legarda expressed interest in pushing for the bill in the Senate.


    The Philippines is known as the center of marine biodiversity, having 2/3s of the known marine species in the Pacific living in its costal waters. Sharks, as predators of the sea, play a vital role in regulating the ecological balance, particularly the health of important commercial fish species, population balance, and protection of coral reefs. As such, our country plays a crucial role in protecting marine species.


    Perhaps the best overview of the situation can be found in

    Senate Bill 2616

    which has been pending in the Philippine senate since 2010:

    Shark Table of Contents