Illegal fishers arrested in Concepcion

FIFTEEN illegal fishermen from Negros Occidental were caught using the forbidden trawl boat, a modified Danish seine, in marine waters off Baliguian Island, in Malangabang village, Concepcion, Iloilo, over the weekend.

Police Officer 3 Philip Cañoso of the Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force reported on Monday, July 17, that the fishermen were led by their captain Jill Rinquijo, 42, a resident of Tortosa village, Manapla, Negros Occidental.

Rinquijo, along with the boat owner Noel Quimar of Sagay City, Negros Occidental, will be charged with violation of Section 86 of Republic Act (RA) 10654 (Unauthorized Fishing) and Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 246 (Banning the Use of Danish Seine or Modified Danish Seine Fishing in Philippine Waters).

The other fishermen were released from the custody of the task force since they were not subjects of the penal provisions of Section 86 RA 10654 and FAO 246.

These were motormen Marcial Baesa and Marlon Sinugbahan and crew members Raffy Reyes, Joseph Lorico, Jerry Ravanes, Leo Diamante, Rey Repeque, Jessie Aloba, Bernardo Eduardo, Daryl Adolfo, Renard Eduardo, Tata Sabanal, Rasul Reyes, and Lainel Pasigna. All were residents of Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

The task force recovered from their possession their fishing boat wooden hull with outrigger equipped with engine 6D14, shafting, propeller, rudder, mechanical winch with 6D14 engine, two pairs of tom weight, two rolls of scaring lines, a set Danish Seine fishing net, 100 tubs of assorted fishes, seven containers diesel fuel, 17 plastic drums, a GPS and magnetic compass.

On July 12, the task force also apprehended the Sanny Guasa, 47, a suspected dynamite fisher from Alipata village, Carles, Iloilo. He is currently facing a complaint for violating Section 88 of RA 10654 (fishing with the use of explosives) in Iloilo Prosecutor’s Office.

Despite the relentless effort to curb illegal fishing, it remains a cause of concern among local chief executives. The use of illegal gears and overfishing, particularly in Visayan Sea, threatens the province’s food security, according to Governor Arthur Defensor Sr.

Defensor said an example is the apparent decline in the supply of blue swimming crabs (Portunus pelagicus) from Ajuy to Carles this year which he will tackle with the mayors of coastal towns during the upcoming Visayan Sea Summit on July 22 in Sicogon Island, Carles.

“The blue swimming crabs are slowing disappearing because fishermen are catching those gravid and undersized. Aside from strict law enforcement, I believe that the best strategy to this problem is market denial,” the governor stressed.

Defensor added that there is a need to revisit the existing ordinance prohibiting fishermen from catching/gathering, possessing, selling, or transporting berried and undersized blue crabs with a carapace measuring less than 11 centimeters (4.6 inches) in the province. (Jezza Nepomoceno)
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