Bantay Dagat: ‘Hulbot-hulbot’ modified to appear legal-A A +A
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
A NEW method of fishing is being used by fishermen in Northern Iloilo apparently to circumvent the ban against “hulbot-hulbot” (Danish seine) fishing.
Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force discovered the fishing gears with the apprehension of three illegal fishing vessels in the vicinity of Dungon, Concepcion and Punta Buri, Ajuy last February 19, 2013.
Senior Police Officer 1 (SPO1) Gilbert Piedad said the apprehended fishing vessels, although relatively small, use modified set gill nets, scare ropes and tom weights similar to that used by the “hulbot” fishers.
Provincial Administrator Raul Banias said the fishing method is actually a slight modification of the “hulbot” method which is illegal.
“Hulbot-hulbot” involves throwing a large rock or tom weight tied to a net into the sea and dragging it underwater. It is considered to be environmentally destructive because dragging it underwater to catch fish ruins coral reefs, the spawning grounds of marine life.
The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 bans the use of “hulbot-hulbot” within municipal waters or 15 kilometers (km) from the shoreline.
To recall, all “hulbot” operators in Northern Iloilo signed separate manifestos that they will stop their operation in support of Governor Arthur Defensor’s campaign against illegal fishing activities last year.
The three apprehended vessels all from Tagubanhan, Ajuy were eventually released after Ajuy Mayor Juancho Alvarez issued a certification that they were not “hulbot-hulbot.”
However, Piedad claimed that the apprehended vessels were modified “hulbot-hulbot,” because they use the following fishing gears, among others: mesh nets size 10 cms (inner), 7 cms (outer); scaring rope – 90 meters; tom weight: steel ring 2 ft. diameter with one square foot concrete cement average weight 30 kgs.
Piedad said the use of tom wait is considered illegal as provided under Fisheries Administrative Order No. 222.
Banias urged the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) headed by Director Asis Perez to issue a clear-cut administrative order to address the gray areas in the operation of “hulbot” in order to avoid confusion. (PR)