Meeting with BOC Collector Ronnie Silvestre

  • November 11, 2011 9am
  • with Ronnie Silvestre
  • Bureau of Customs Conference Room

Discussion re. the ban of exportation of “raw commercial shells”

The GTO will be working closely with BOC with regards to the list of members under GTO

Conus Synthesis Meeting, 25 – 29 October 2011

During the last week of October the Biodiversity Synthesis Center at the Field Museum Chicago hosted an IUCN Red List workshop on behalf of the University of York, UK. The purpose of the meeting was to assess threats to over 640 species of cone snails, one of the largest assessments undertaken for this purpose at a single session.

Conus, being the largest genus of marine invertebrates, is of special significance to biodiversity. Occurring primarily in tropical coastal waters, these snails are predatory and capture their meals of fish, molluscs or worms using complex neurotoxins delivered through detached ‘harpoons’ evolved from their radulae. The toxins, which possibly number in excess of 50,000 across the genus, are of considerable interest to biomedical science with drugs already on the market for the treatment of intractable pain and with many other applications in research. To date, less that 1% of toxins have been characterized. Conus confronts the same threats from fishing, pollution and habitat loss as other tropical marine taxa, but with a carnivorous diet, these gastropod molluscs are at a trophic level where habitat degradation also carries special significance in its potential for reducing prey abundance and disrupting the food chain.

The workshop opened with an address by Callum Roberts of the University of York describing the challenges facing marine science as the impact of over-exploitation, habitat loss, rising sea levels and changes in the marine carbon cycle bring global fisheries to collapse and threaten the future existence of aragonite-secreting animals such as corals and molluscs. Mark Westneat of the Encyclopedia of Life and Heather Harwell of the IUCN Global Marine Species Assessment, joint sponsors of the meeting, presented the work of their respective organizations. This was followed by a talk from Howard Peters, principal researcher for the Cone Snail Project at York, on the background to the research and its future direction that will include sample surveys of Conus populations across variations in habitat. Monika Böhm of the Institute of Zoology at the Zoological Society of London and Mary Seddon of the IUCN Mollusc Specialist Group concluded the formal proceedings with presentations on the application of the standard IUCN Categories and Criteria and the taxonomic approaches to Red Listing.

The meeting divided into six work groups each representing a different biogeographical region to review draft species assessments researched at York over the previous months. Each group consisted of two or three experts for that region with representation from both academia and commerce, including leading malacologists and taxonomists but also major global traders in mollusc shells who are committed to conservation. This unusual approach created a dynamic environment where the ‘in-water’ knowledge of the traders dovetailed with the scientific expertise of the academics to produce an exceptionally insightful narrative of the distribution, trade and threats facing each species.

Over the following months the assessments will be subject to stringent consistency and accuracy checks before publication on both the websites of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the Encyclopedia of Life where the data will be available for subscription-free access to researchers worldwide.
In addition to those mentioned above, other participants at the workshop were: Philippe Bouchet, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, France; José Coltro, Femorale, Brazil; Tom Duda, University of Michigan, USA; Andrew Hines, Global Marine Species Assessment, USA; Alan Kohn, University of Washington, USA; Suzanne Livingstone, The Biodiversity Consultancy Ltd, France; Eric Monnier, Cons. National des Arts et Métiers, France; Hugh Morrison, Australian Seashells, Australia; Ed Petuch, Florida Atlantic University, USA; Guido Poppe, Conchology Inc., Philippines; Gabriella Raybaudi-Massilia, University of Roma Tre, Italy; Jonnell Sanciangco, Global Marine Species Assessment, USA; Sheila Tagaro, Conchology Inc., Philippines; Manuel Jiménez Tenorio, Universidad de Cádiz, Spain; Stephan Veldsman, Gem Science, South Africa; Fred E Wells, Consultant Marine Ecologist, Australia.

Howard Peters


Test For member section

This is a test to see if the member section works 🙂

GTO Forbidden Seashells Poster

GTO has created a poster which shows all the forbidden seashells by law in the Philippines.

We encourage all companies working with seashell to download this poster and display it in their office.  The poster can be used as a guideline to know what is allowed to be exported.  All shells on this poster are strictly forbidden by law to catch and to export.

Download PDF – A3 size (big)
Download PDF – A4 size (small)

GTO Forbidden Shells



Cebu public hearing tackles fisheries bill – Sun.Star

Source: Sun.Star July 15, 2011

THE House committee on aquaculture and fisheries resources yesterday received overwhelming support for the creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Dfar) during a public hearing on the bill at the Capitol Social Hall yesterday.

The move would make the existing bureau a separate entity from the Department of Agriculture.

But some fisherfolk, especially members of Pamana-Sugbo, opposed amendments to Republic Act (RA) 8550 or the Fisheries Code of 1998, saying it will reduce the scope of municipal waters.

Committee chairperson Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, fourth district), author of the bill, explained that creating Dfar will give more power to the agencies tasked to improve seafood production and at the same time protect the environment.

On the amendment of RA 8550, Rep. Pablo “Pabling” Garcia (Cebu, second district) said commercial fishing, no matter how small or big, must be allowed in seawaters seven fathoms deep.

Market demand

He said marginal fishermen cannot meet market demand.

Victor Lapaz of Pamana-Sugbo, a group of fishermen, said they oppose the proposed reduction of the 15-kilometer radius of municipal waters because big-time commercial fishers, with their sophisticated fishing equipment, would displace marginal fishermen.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) Executive Director Luis Perez, for his part, said Filipino fishermen must depend on science, especially on understanding the cycle of fish production.

“If we allow massive fishing within the 15-kilometer radius, the number of fishes will be depleted. Fish catch and fish production have declined in the past 20 years. And there are factors that include the science of fisheries”, Perez said.

Garcia said their proposed amendments to RA 8550 are not selective because commercial fishing, whether big or small, is allowed only in seas seven fathoms deep.

No more fish

“If we will not amend the law especially on Section 90 of RA 8550, which bans commercial fishing within the 15-kilometer radius, time will come when the wet markets will run out of fish because marginal fishermen cannot produce more. Let us look what is the greater good for the greater number (of people),” Garcia said.

He added that the primary aim to amend the law and to create Dfar is food security. The problem is that the catch of marginal fishermen is enough for them and their families with no excess available for sale in the markets.

He said Presidential Decree 704, the old fisheries law, allowed commercial fishing within seas seven fathoms deep.

“All we have to do is reconcile the laws in making the amendment of RA 8550,” Garcia said.

Garcia said by amending RA 8550, there will be no more definition of municipal waters.

Other congressmen who attended the hearing and gave inputs were Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City South), Rep. Luigi Quisumbing (Cebu, 6th district), Rep. Pastor Alcover Jr. (Anad Partylist), and Rep. Eduardo Gullas, among others.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 15, 2011.

Source: Sun.Star July 15, 2011

Public hearing from the committee on Aquaculture & Fisheries Resources

GTO was present to give support to the committee on Aquaculture & Fisheries Resources held on July 14, 2011.

The committee held a public hearing for the amendment of RA8550 and the proposed bill of the creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

On the public hearing, following congressmen where present:

  • Hon. Benhur L. Salimbangon
  • Hon. Luigi Quisumbing
  • Hon. Eduardo R. Gullas
  • Hon. Irvin M. Alcala
  • Hon. Florencio C. Garay
  • Hon. Angelo B. Palmones
  • Hon. Pablo P. Garcia
  • Hon. Pablo John Garcia
  • Hon. Pastor Alcover

As well as the current director of BFAR Atty. Asis G. Perez and Gov. Gwen Garcia


Meeting with director BFAR Director Atty. Asis G. Perez

The Green Trade Org, had the pleasure to meet the new BFAR director, Atty. Asis G. Perez on July 13, 2011 in Cebu.  The meeting was held at the Lighthouse restaurant in Cebu.

For that occasion, GTO member Guido T. Poppe handed over as a gift the first volume of the Philippine Marine Mollusks book to the Director.

Director Perez took the opportunity to have an informal talk with GTO members about the future plans of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Also the Director explained his stance on current laws and regulations.   GTO members could raise a few concerns about current import/export procedures with the Director.

Marine Life in the Philippines

Courtesy of Poppe-Images, we show you 24 truly amazing animals living in the Philippines. They range from 5mm up to 2 meter in size, a truly diverse world.

You can discover another 70,000 animals if you visit their website:

Philippine Marine Mollusks

Philippine Marine Mollusks Vol I, II, III and IV are setting the modern standards for Marine Indo Pacific Mollusks in general. They are a summary of the confirmed knowledge on Philippine marine mollusks and cover all groups of mollusks, including nudibranches. The books cover over 4300 species.

Philippine Marine Mollusks Vol 1

Philippine Marine Mollusks Vol 2

Philippine Marine Mollusks Vol 3

Philippine Marine Mollusks Vol 4


Science books handover at San Carlos University

GTO member Guido Poppe of Conchology, Inc. has donated the 4 Volumes of the Philippine Marine Mollusks book set to Fr. Dionisio Miranda SVD.  The hand over was held during the 1st National Biodiversity & Environmental Management Conference held at San Carlos University on June 23, 2011.

The books are a great addition to the science library of San Carlos University and will help countless students and scientist study seashells in the Philippines.

Guido T. Poppe handing over 4 books

The Philippine Marine Mollusks book set contains all the seashells know to science in the Philippines. It is a 7 year project which involved over 55 scientist from all over to world to document all seashells living in the Philippines. The result is 4300 scientific names published in 4 Volumes.