By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE remains of a 10.48-meter male Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) washed up in the shores of Barangay Gabi, Gigantes Sur Island in Carles, Iloilo on February 4, 2019.
According to a report from the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Office of Carles to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the whale got stranded while it was in pursuit of target food and was possibly strangled based on the rope that was found around its body.
“It was suspected that incident was a result of the animal’s pursuit of target food which is presumed to be abundant in the near-shore areas or Gigantes Islands due to the implementation of the marine protected area and the continuous campaign against illegal fishing,” the report added.
Based on the report, at around 5 a.m. on Feb. 4, the crew of passenger-cargo boat “Rommel” plying the Gigantes Island to Estancia, Iloilo route, and vice-versa, could no longer lift the anchor rope of the boat. They later discovered the lifeless whale strangled by the anchors rope.
The residents immediately called out the attention of the local government unit (LGU) which later communicated the find with BFAR.
To prevent possible health hazards from the decomposing body, officials of Brgy. Gabi decided not to bury it. Instead, they securely wrapped it a concrete mixture.
As a remembrance, the concrete mixture will serve as foundation for a possible statue that will be constructed as part of the history of the barangay.
Some of Gabi residents believed that the incident was a blessing and a perpetual reminder of the importance of protecting marine resources, the report added.