THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 7 distributed late yesterday the three tons of dynamited fishes from Zamboanga City.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 7 Director Andres Bojos said the assorted fishes with a market value of P180,000 were seized by a joint team from BFAR and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7.
The illegally caught fishes, such as rumpi and molmol, among others, were placed in six cargo containers when they arrived at the Port of Cebu at midnight Wednesday on board mv Asia Pacific.
BFAR 7 and NBI 7 operatives immediately got samples for laboratory examination and found that six of the nine containers had dynamited fishes.
Bojos said the authorities were tipped about the illegal shipment.
BFAR 7 Inspector Asterlito Cabangbang said their initial investigation showed that the bill of lading of the shipment listed the names Danny Evangelista and Carmen Enriquez as senders, and Rosalie Ledesma and Juan Andrin as consignees.
Bojos said the assorted fishes were distributed to religious organizations managed by nuns and priests and the Catholic Defenders of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Bojos said the three owners of commercial fishing vessels were charged criminally and administratively by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) after their arrest last week.
Bojos said the illegal commercial fishers were caught fishing at Tañon Strait, which is a prohibited area.
He said that under the law, the DENR is the caretaker of Tañon Strait through the Protected Area Management Board.
The BFAR is mandated by law to protect marine life and environment.
Bojos said that illegal commercial fishers may face a fine of P200,000 to P1 million under the new law, Republic Act (RA) 10654, the newly amended Philippine Fisheries Code.
RA 10654 was authored by Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th district) and Sen. Cynthia Villar in the Senate.
According to the BFAR 7 director, illegal commercial fishing in municipal waters will deprive the marginal fisherfolk of a sizable catch.