Cops net 20 ‘illegal fisherfolk’

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Friday, May 2, 2014


TWENTY fishermen were caught by authorities illegally fishing off the coast of Daanbantayan, Cebu at dawn last Thursday.

PO3 Alfredo Mandal, chief investigator of the Daanbantayan Police Station, said the fishermen were using a destructive practice called bottom trawling in protected waters off Barangay Carnaza.

This involves dragging nets along the seafloor, which destroys everything in its path, including corals.

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A team from the Bantay Dagat composed of Loy Madrigal and Ruel Corro, together with Carnaza Barangay Councilor Sery Panares, were patrolling the waters when they sighted a commercial fishing vessel around 3 a.m.

Confiscated fish

Recovered from the fishermen were some 80 kilos of assorted fishes worth P6,000.

The fishermen were identified as Rogelio Forrosuelo, the boat captain; Noli Santillan; Hilario Mata; Leonardo Decape; Richard Evangelio; Crisanto Desuyo; Renato Catalba; Jhonrey Ugbamin; Sanny Desamparado;  Bernard Canque; Teodoro Rebamonte; Rodulfo Forrosuelo; Johnny Ofianga; Jimmy Placencia; Victor Salvana; Reynaldo Gimenez; Analito Tunga; Cecilio Petiluna; Cesario Necor; and Dionesio Mangubat.

They are all from Madridejos, Bantayan Island.

Mandal, when interviewed by Sun.Star Cebu, said the fishermen knew they weren’t supposed to fish in the area.

“Daghan kuno kaayong isda dihang dapita ingon sila (The area reportedly has a lot of fish),” he said.

Police distributed the fish haul to a hospital and the church.

For verification

Complaints for violating Sections 86 and 90 of Republic Act (RA) 8550, or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, and a municipal ordinance will be filed against the fishermen on Monday before the Bogo City Prosecutor’s Office.

Section 86 of RA 8550 states that no person shall exploit, occupy, produce, breed, culture, capture or gather fish, fry or fingerlings of any fishery species or fishery products, or engage in any fishery activity in Philippine waters without a license, lease or permit.

Meanwhile, Section 90 of RA 8550 states it shall be unlawful to engage in fishing in municipal waters and in all bays as well as other fishery management areas using
active fishing gears.

Mandal said the fishermen were arrested before, with some more than once.
However, they were only made to pay a fine of P2,500 per person for violating the municipal ordinance and were released, he said.
“File-an na gyud namo og kaso karon kay mobalik raman ang uban gihapon gud (This time we will charge them so they won’t go back to illegal fishing),” he said.

In another development, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) 7 plans to look into reports of alleged shark hunting in Daanbantayan and Talisay City.

In a press conference yesterday, Bfar 7 Assistant Director Alan Poquita said they might send a quick response team to verify reports.

Offering assistance

Poquita told reporters that there are some species of sharks like the hammerhead and
the whale shark that are considered endangered based on the Convention of
International Trade on Endangered Species (Cites).

He said anyone caught catching or killing any endangered shark species will be charged with violating RA 8550.

Poquita said local government units (LGUs) should initiate operations against fishermen or other persons who slaughter sharks and sell them for meat.

He said they are willing to provide technical assistance like teaching the LGUs to determine if sharks they confiscate are endangered.

Poquita said LGUs that ignore reports of shark hunting in their jurisdiction will also be charged.

Based on the law, violators can face a jail term of 12 to 20 years.

They will also be required to pay a fine of P120,000, along with the forfeiture of their catch and the cancellation of their fishing permit.

Info dissemination

Last Wednesday, authorities found hammerhead shark meat being sold at the wet market in Daanbantayan.

Mayor Augusto Corro said he wants to investigate the matter before the Municipal Government files complaints against the alleged violators.

“Most of the vendors know about the prohibition when it comes to selling sharks in our market. I hope after the incident the people will be warned,” he said.

He said they will also step up their information campaign against the hunting and selling of shark meat by distributing flyers and posting signs in markets and in coastal areas.

Corro said he considers it his obligation, as mayor, to protect endangered marine species.

“Aside from looking after our protected coastal areas, I am obliged to warn everyone, especially the fishermen from other places (who frequent Daanbantayan) against catching endangered fishes or using illegal modes of fishing, which are really unlawful,” he said.

The mayor said Bantay Dagat has apprehended four fishing vessels for illegal fishing since super typhoon Yolanda devastated the municipality last Nov. 8. DSM/JKV/Darlene M. de Paz, CNU Comm intern

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 02, 2014.

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