Truck with brown algae gets snagged-A A +A
Saturday, August 31, 2013
A TASK force against illegal fishing intercepted a 14-wheeler truck loaded with 15,000 tons of brown algae, allegedly in violation of a Capitol ordinance.
Local official Romeo Tapayan said the truck, with plate number ZGP-182, was apprehended at 11:30 p.m. last Thursday in Barangay Sabang, Danao City. Tapayan heads the Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force.
The claimant, who identified himself only as Marilla, said the algae came from Masbate and was about to be exported to China.
But an ordinance approved in 2012, the Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Code, declares it unlawful “for any person or corporation to extract, gather or harvest” brown seaweeds locally known as samo/kwapo and other seaweed species.
Violators will have to pay P3,000 as an administrative fine and another P1,000 per kilo of seaweeds caught.
Tapayan said the brown algae is worth P1,000 per kilo. It can be used as an ingredient for fertilizer and for making plastic.
He said the task force released the driver and his three helpers because the team might get charged if they detained the party.
Marilla said the group sells the brown seaweeds for P7 each kilo and that their cargo was 11,000 tons. He said they have been in the business for two years, but it was their first apprehension.
He also said they have the permits for their business and the movement of the seaweeds. In Masbate, he said, no such ordinance exists.
Marilla explained that the brown algae in their possession was collected from the shore and not extracted from underwater.
Tapaya said that the claimant will try to request Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III to let them claim the truck of seaweeds. But as of 5 p.m. yesterday, it remained in the Capitol compound.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 31, 2013.