‘80% of bad fishers out’

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014


THE Provincial Ant-illegal Fishing Task Force says 80 percent of illegal fishers in Northern Cebu have been stopped.

The body proclaimed this during the launching of the National Ocean’s Month’s 1st Aqua-Marine Product Trade Fair at the Capitol compound yesterday.

The achievement came through the efforts of the Provincial Anti-illegal Fishing Task Force headed by Capitol Chief of Security Loi Anthony Madrigal.

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Madrigal said that since October 2013, the task force apprehended 23 operations, most of them in northern Cebu and some in Talisay City.

Despite this achievement, however, there are still illegal fishers who insist on using destructive methods, such as zipper fishing and dynamite fishing within provincial waters, which violate the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.

The code provides for “the development, management and conservation of the fisheries and aquatic resources, integrating all laws, and for other purposes.”

South

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, who led the opening ceremony in yesterday’s launching, said these illegal operations also exist in southern Cebu.

“We also have to attend to the problems of illegal fishing in the south, and we are urging the officials to focus on organizing themselves. That they will help us in arresting illegal fishermen,” Davide said. “We cannot really expect to fully stop it, but we’ll continue to go after violators of the illegal fishing act. Those involved will be apprehended,” he added.

Helping the poor

Davide III said that even though illegal fishers are doing these under pressure of business and profit, the welfare of the poor and small fishermen, whose lives are dependent on the sea, also have to be accounted for.

Section II of the fisheries code said the State must “protect the rights of fisherfolk, especially of the local communities with priority to municipal fisherfolk, in the preferential use of the municipal waters. Such preferential use, shall be based on, but not limited to, Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) or Total Allowable Catch (TAC) on the basis of resources and ecological conditions, and shall be consistent with our commitment under international treaties and agreement.”

“How are they going to feel to know that their competitors are big businessmen? We also have to assist them as well,” Davide said.

He said that despite the rise in number of apprehensions, lack of manpower is still a problem.

“That is why we are also asking the navy and the coast guard to help us. We are also tapping the Bantay Dagat teams in the municipalities,” He said.

The trade fair is a five-day celebration in line with the Nation Ocean’s Month and the Anti-Illegal Fishing Consciousness Week under Presidential Proclamation 57. (Alyza Burdeos, SU MassComm Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 27, 2014.

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