SIX stingrays weighing 15 kilos were confiscated by the Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force (CPAIFTF) after they conducted a market denial operation in Barangay Magay, Compostela last Tuesday.
The stingrays, a rare and endangered marine species, were found among the piles of fish showers (banyera) inside the truck owned by Ricardo Calisa, who also drove the vehicle that time.
Mel Hontanosas, the assistant head of the CPAIFTF, said the stingrays originally came from Estancia in Iloilo and were supposed to be transported to the fish market in Pasil, Cebu City.
They are reportedly sold for P120 per kilo and would have sold for P1,800.
Hontanosas said that stingrays only reproduce once a year and catching them is prohibited.
“They only reproduce once a year so if we keep catching them, they will eventually be extinct,” he said.
However, the driver of the truck denied his involvement in the sale of endangered species. He said he had no idea what was inside the truck and who owned the goods.
“Ako wala akong pakialam sa karga na yan dahil hindi ko alam kung kanino yan (I have nothing to do with the cargo, I don’t even know who owns it),” Calisa said.
Calisa was released yesterday after he assured authorities that he will cooperate in the investigation.
Meanwhile, Hontanosas said their office will continue to conduct operations and market denial to strengthen their campaign against illegal fishing and trading of endangered species.
“We will not stop until they also stop catching endangered species,” Hontanosas said.
Those caught will be charged with violating Republic Act 8550, or the Act Providing for Development Management and Conservation of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Apple Grace C. Danuco, USJ-R Intern