Corals seized in Talisay ‘more than a century old’

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Saturday, July 19, 2014


THE Cebu Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force is preparing a complaint against three persons for allegedly violating Republic Act 8550, or the Fisheries Code of 1998.

They are Julius Inocencio and couple Alfredo and Teresita Ylaya.

Last Thursday, the task force seized 16 species of endangered shells and four sacks of corals from Inocencio’s shop in Barangay San Roque, Talisay City. The Ylayas, who hail from Barangay Cansojong, Talisay City, surrendered 14 sacks of corals.

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Confirmation

Task force head Loy Anthony Madrigal said the confiscated items are in his office at the Cebu Capitol compound.

“I was told by our Bfar (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) technician that the corals are 150 years old,” he said.

He said their operation last Thursday was a continuation of their June 25 operation, where the task force intercepted a truckload of trumpet and helmet shells from Zamboanga on their way to be processed in Talisay city.

In a separate interview, marine biologists Charity Mae Apale and Jong Dumalagan of the Zoological Society of London confirmed that the seized corals are more than a century old.

They said corals grow at an average rate of three millimeters per year, depending on the specie. The branching ones grow faster, Dumalagan said.

With more zeal

“I was upset upon learning that these corals are more than a 100 years old. Mora’g (They’re like) century-old trees,” Madrigal said, adding that this will encourage him to be more aggressive in his campaign against illegal fishing.

In their June 25 operation, Madrigal said they arrested the driver of the van and his companion.

As for the van’s cargo, he said the trumpet and helmet shells are endangered and are reportedly worth millions. He also said these were export-bound.

On entering Inocencio’s shop last Thursday without a warrant, Madrigal said the shells could be seen from outside.

“…commercial shop man kay namaligya og sakyanan so nisud mi (it’s also a commercial establishment since it sells vehicles that was why we entered),” he said.

Inocencio, who was not around during the operation, is at large.

As for the Ylaya couple, the task force is still determining what to charge them since they surrendered the corals and were not arrested.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 20, 2014.

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