AMID the intensified law enforcement of Republic Act 10654 or an act to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF), two separate incidents of electrofishing were spotted in Abra recently.

Reports from the Langiden police revealed two unidentified persons were seen to have been illegally catching fish with the use of electricity (battery-operated) at the river bank of Barangay Quillat, Langiden, in Abra.

This incident was reported through phone call by a barangay official, however, the suspects, upon seeing the police, hurriedly escaped and scurried away through a bamboo raft going to Barangay Sta. Rosa, in Bangued leaving their electro-fishing gadgets.

Among the seized gears include two 12 volts battery packs, electrical devices, two wire rod with bamboo connection, two bamboo fishing net (sagoy) and a fishing net containing different species weighing close to one kilo. The seized items were turned-over to Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources–CAR (BFAR-CAR) Provincial Fishery Office in Calaba, Bangued, Abra.

Meanwhile, in Dolores, police officers from the Municipal Police Station arrested Alvin Zapata, 34, who was caught in the possession of an electrofishing device and several species of fish, allegedly after fishing with the use of the said device. After authorities were conducting foot patrol along the Malanas River at Barangay Bayaan. The gadget and fishes caught were confiscated and brought to Dolores municipal polices station as part of the investigation.

To date, Zapata is currently detained and a criminal complaint has already been filed for violation of Section 92 of the RA 10654 which prohibits fishing through the use of explosives, noxious or poisonous substances, or electricity.

If convicted, Zapata may face an imprisonment of six months, a fine of P5,000, or both.

Unreported and unregulated fishing refers to fishing activities that do not comply with national, regional, or international fisheries conservation or management legislation or measures.

Fishing with the use of electricity is prohibited mainly because it affects the reproductive system not only of the fish caught, but those not caught as well which may result in the deterioration of biodiversity present in the area.

This is part of the bureau’s massive information drive against any form of illegal fishing activities and the enforcement of fishery laws in the Cordilleras, in coordination with the local government units. (BFAR–CAR)