Amid the prevailing health crisis, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 7, through the leadership of its regional director Dr. Allan Poquita, heightens its enforcement of fishery laws.
The bureau's Fishery Resource Protection Group (FRPG), together with the Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Group personnel, apprehended a commercial fishing boat operator on Jan. 17 at 1:35 p.m.
The operator and the eight crew members from Victorias City, Negros Occidental were caught encroaching the municipal waters off Madridejos town in Bantayan Island, northern Cebu.
BFAR 7, particularly its Fisheries Management, Regulatory and Enforcement Division (FMRED), has strongly warned the commercial operators that they are prohibited from fishing in the municipal waters.
FMRED head Josefina Flores said that the bureau wanted to start the year by warning commercial fishing boat operators that they will have to face the consequences if they continue to violate the fishery laws.
The erring operator was charged with administrative and criminal cases for violating Republic Act 10654 or "An Act to Prevent, Deter, Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing," which amended RA 8550 or "The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998."
The operator's fish catch, which weighed about 40 kilograms, was confiscated and later turned over to Madridejos Police Station for proper disposal.
The fishing boat is now under the custody of BFAR 7 FRPG personnel. It was earlier towed to Bantayan port.
Municipal fishers are allowed to venture in the seawaters 15 kilometers from the shoreline while commercial fishers are permitted 15 kilometers and beyond. (PR)