SECTIONS
philippines
Monday, December 06, 2021

Joint operation seizes ‘endangered’ shells

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) jointly apprehended three boats carrying sacks of Samong (top shells) yesterday.

Commodore Enrico Evangelista of the PCG Central Visayas said they are yet to receive the official report of field operatives.

“Rest assured that if the operation rendered positive—on the presence of this banned shells, we will not hesitate to confiscate and file the appropriate charges in coordination with BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) 7, the lead agency,” Evangelista said.

Earlier, environmentalist-lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos texted to Sun.Star Cebu saying that she was informed that the shells came from Tubbataha Reef, based on the statements of the crew of the three apprehended boats.

Ramos said she also received reports that the people of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza were in Olango Island where the boats were apprehended and were “pushing that it be swept under the rug.”

Escorted

At press time, Evangelista said the three boats were escorted by Coast Guard personnel to the Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City where BFAR will conduct the inventory.

He said that after the inventory, the PCG will officially turn over the seized items to BFAR.

The BFAR) 7 confirmed that it assisted the Philippine Navy and the PCG in identifying the shells.

Alan Poquita, BFAR 7 assistant director, said their office sent personnel to assist in conducting an inventory of the confiscated shells.

As of press time, they have yet to determine the total market value of the confiscated shells.

BFAR 7 also wants to know if the shells are indeed endangered, Poquita added.

Enforcement

Tungasan Barangay Captain Triponia Abayan said some fishermen in Olango Island go to the seas off Palawan to get sea shells, but they are now fewer because of stricter law enforcement.

Mangadto gihapon ang uban pero di na kinhason kay dakupon na man gud (Some still go there but not to get sea shells anymore because they might get arrested),” she told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview.

But she said some may still continue to get prohibited sea shells.

Basin muhirit sad sila’g panguha anang dakpunon kay mahal man gud (Some might still take the risk because they can earn much from the banned sea shells),” she said.

Abayan said she heard of fishermen selling shells to a Chinese trader in Palawan.

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