HomeThe Palawan Scientistvol. 6 no. 1 (2014)

Effects of poaching on Topshell Tectus niloticus population of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Palawan, Philippines

Jean Beth S. Jontila | Benjamin J. Gonzales | Roger G. Dolorosa



Poaching a significant volume of the reef gastropod topshell Tectus niloticus in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) in 2006 to 2007 has prompted the management to seek detailed information on the impact of such illegal activities. To determine the present status and trends of topshell population in TRNP and to gather background information about poaching and trade, a follow up assessment in 2008 was conducted. Data on trading and poaching were derived from interviews and other secondary data. Abundance of topshells varied according to three surveyed depths; the highest was in the middle sites (~1.5m), followed by intertidal (1m); and the lowest abundance occurred at 5m deep sites. The abundance in 2008 was 75% lesser than in 2006. Since 2004, there were 33 cases of poaching apprehensions in the park, of which, 15 were topshell related, involving 26 boats and 190 fishermen. The promising economic benefit and the demand in black markets, plus the assurance to collect much volume, appeared to be the driving forces for topshell collection in TRNP. To prevent further decline on topshell populations, there is a need to sustain law enforcement and patrolling in the park.