EIGHTEEN fishermen faced multiple charges after being caught fishing using the forbidden Danish seine off coast of Gigantes Island in Iloilo on March 25.
The Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force filed charges against the following: pilot Herman Tanes of Barangay Abong, Carles and crew members Levi Aragon, Jerson Belonio, Niel Solis, Joel Beraco, Richie Belonio, Benoy Oñate, Reymon Capinig, Reyman Plaza, Rey De la Cruz, Melchor Capinig, Jessie Martinez, Alfredo Cayayan, Noriel Benuman and Ronel Solis of Barangay San Antonio, Balud, Masbate.
Also included in the charges were crew members Martin and Kenneth Gomugda of Barangay Kabalik, San Dionisio and Michael Bantillo of Barangay Tabugon, Carles.
The illegal fishers were charged with the violation of Fisheries Administrative Order 246 or the ban on the use of Danish seine or modified Danish seine (Hulbot-Hulbot) in Philippine waters, which was filed in the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, according to a report from the task force’s leader Jose Ronnie Panes on Thursday.
Panes also accused the fishermen of obstruction of justice or violation of Presidential Decree 1829 and unauthorized fishing or violation of Section 86 of Republic Act 10654 before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Balasan-Carles.
The fishermen were locked in Carles Municipal Police Station and they could only gain temporary liberty if they would post a bail amounting to P34,000.
On March 25, the illegal fishers were onboard fishing boat Bherry when the task force intercepted and arrested them 9.79 kilometers from the shoreline of Gigantes Island, Barangay Abong, Carles.
But the task force failed to retrieve the fishing net from the bottom of the sea when it submerged along with the boat's tom weight.
Panes alleged the erring fishermen deliberately cut the scaring line which was attached to the tom weight and fishing net right before they were apprehended. (Jezza A. Nepomoceno)