Environmentalists criticized the whale-shark watching trade in Oslob town calling it “exploitation” to the world’s gentle giants.
Mario Gasalatan, a coastal resource management expert, said the sharks should not be fed in the first place, as it would make them dependent to humans thereby resulting to laziness, and worse accident.
Gasalatan cited what happened to the sharks last year when they got hit by a propeller after going to a boat believing it had food for them.
He said he believes the local government does not really care about the whale sharks and what will happen to them, but the money they bring to the town.
The feeding is just to lure the sharks to stay in Oslob’s municipal water longer than necessary, for the pleasure of the town’s guests, he said.
Since the whale-shark watching activities have been opened to the public in late 2011, the town has been reeking millions from it. As per local ordinance, each guest has to pay P300 to see the sharks, or P500 if he goes snorkeling. This price doubles if the guest is a foreigner. The earnings is divided into three: 60 percent to the local fishers who serve as guides to tourists, 30 to the local government and 10 to the Barangay Tan-awan, where the sharks can be seen.