Protecting thresher sharks in Malapascua Island
The Shark Shelter Project is as community-based, multi-stakeholder initiative based in Malapascua Island, Cebu to protect the thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) and other coastal and marine resources. Monad Shoal, a coastal seamount 8.6 kilometers away from Malapascua Island, is the only dive site in the world so far where thresher sharks can be seen almost daily due to their relationship with cleaner wrasses.
From 2012-2015, the project focused on stakeholder mobilization and building the capacity of dive guides, boat crew, teachers, students. In 2015, Monad Shoal and another dive site within municipal waters, Gato Island, became the country’s first shark and ray sanctuary through an Executive Order. This led to the expansion of the project’s scale and scope by collecting socio-economic data from three coastal barangays (Logon, Maya, and Carnaza) and biophysical data from three dive sites (Monad Shoal, Chocolate Island, and Gato Island) and developing a draft of the Marine Protected Area Network Ordinance and Management Plan. In 2020, the project's focus is to install mooring buoys to demarcate the marine protected areas.