Bantay Dagat sues owners, captains of 2 fishing boats

THE owners and boat captains of two fishing boats that were apprehended for illegal fishing in Ajuy town will be facing multiple criminal charges before the office of the provincial prosecutor.

The complaint for violation of Sections 86 (unauthorized fishing) and 97 (ban on muro-ami, other methods and gears destructive to coral reefs and other marine habitat) of Republic Act (RA) 10654 was filed against boat captain Rogelio Reyes of FB Rosal on Thursday, February 1.

The Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force, led by PO2 James Stephen Lucero and PO1 Veemil Balasote, caught Reyes and his 10-man crew from Barangays Pantalan, Carles and Botongan, Estancia engaging in Danish siene fishing (hulbot-hulbot) on January 31.

PO3 Philip Cañoso said the fishermen cut their scaring lines, leaving their tom weight and fishing nets at the bottom of the sea when the task force was about to go aboard their patrol boat.

The task force successfully arrested the erring fishermen off the marine waters of Cabugao Island in Barangay Asluman, Carles. Their fishing boat wooden hull with outrigger equipped with two diesel engines, shafting, propeller and radar were confiscated.

Their two rolls of scaring lines and 25 tubs of assorted fishes were also seized and disposed accordingly.

Cañoso said they will also file a separate complaint for violation of Presidential Decree 1829 against Reyes for obvious obstruction of justice and for deliberately concealing and destroying vital evidences.

Meanwhile, the task force will file criminal complaints against the owner of FB Marc Ivan and its highest ranking officials after they evaded arrest for engaging in otter trawl or palupad in Ajuy.

The fishing boat was owned and operated by certain Mario Artillero of Barangay Dumolog, Roxas City, and its boat captain was identified as John Doe.

Seven counts of frustrated homicide, assault upon agent of person in authority, resistance and disobedience and for violation of Sections 95 (use of active gear in municipal waters), 93 (use of fine mesh nets) and 115 (obstruction of apprehension) of RA 10654 will be lodged against them in court.

They will also face charges for violation of Fisheries Administrative Order 167-3, declaring close season for catching of herrings, sardines and mackerels in the Visayan Sea.

Before the apprehension of FB Rosal, the task force rescued fishermen Felizardo Bara, Eliseo Villaret and Joman Panel whose fishing boat capsized due to strong winds and waves. They were then brought to their homes in Barangay Culasi, Ajuy.

The operation of the task force is in coordination with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Western Visayas. (PR)
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