Shark captors arrested-A A +A
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
CEBU - A task force against illegal fishing in Cebu stopped in Daanbantayan town two fishing trawlers for allegedly transporting thresher sharks and dried seahorses and for fishing in municipal waters.
The operations coincided with the fourth day of the Philippine Environment Month.
The Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force, using a Navy patrol boat intercepted the two fishing trawlers at 4 a.m. yesterday near Isla de Gato. Both vessels were from Cadiz City in Negros Occidental.
Violators of Republic Act 8550 face 12 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of P120,000. They also risk the cancellation of their fishing permits.
“Dako ang pasalamat namo sa provincial governor sa iyang support regarding illegal fishing dinhi sa Daanbantayan (We are thankful to the governor for supporting the fight agains illegal fishing in Daanbantayan),” Mayor Augusto Corro said.
What laws did the trawlers’ crew allegedly violate?
Section 97 of RA 8550 prohibits the taking of rare and endangered marine species listed in the CITES or Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. These include thresher sharks and seahorses.
Also, fishing within the vicinity of Isla de Gato, which falls within Daanbantayan’s municipal waters, violates Section 70 of the Fisheries Act.
The task force headed by Loi Madrigal said the trawlers and the 31-member crew are now in the custody of Daanbantayan authorities, pending the filing of charges and their payment of fines at the Capitol today.
The two thresher sharks were submitted to marine biologists for study while the seahorses, the size of an adult’s finger, are with Madrigal. These will be used as evidence.
Thresher sharks, whose elongated tails sweep gracefully from side to side as they move, have long attracted divers to Malapascua in northern Cebu.
One such shark, along with four dried seahorses, was spotted in the fishing trawler Angel May, which had 16 crewmen on board. The vessel reportedly belongs to Alma Arimas.
Two kilometers away from the first site, Madrigal, with elements of Daanbantayan’s Bantay Dagat, spotted another fishing trawler.
They intercepted the Laura-Rowella fishing trawler, reportedly owned by Roy Vejandre, which had 15 crewmembers on board. The boat also held 150 banyera or large basins of assorted fish, two seahorses and a thresher shark, as well as a sting ray.
The two fishing trawlers are grounded at the back of Daanbantayan municipal hall and the crewmen are temporarily in the custody of the town police.
Madrigal said the operation stemmed from daily text messages sent to him these past three weeks, about the presence of deep-sea fishing boats in the municipal waters.
The Capitol task force has been active in going after illegal fishing activities and has stepped up its activities with this month’s declaration as the Philippine Environment Month.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 05, 2014.