Operations of shark fin importer-exporter suspended-A A +A
Thursday, September 4, 2014
THE City Government of Lapu-Lapu has temporarily stopped the operation of a business engaged in drying shark fins in Barangay Mactan.
Mayor Paz Radaza issued a cease-and-desist order against the Shell Haven Fashion International in Sitio Kasanta last Tuesday afternoon, after City inspectors found out the firm did not have permits from the City and the barangay.
Members of the City Business Inspection Board visited the firm's plant twice after residents complained of foul odor allegedly caused by the drying of shark fins.
Joey Abdulla, 28, stock officer of Shell Haven Fashion International, denied the shark fins caused the odor.
He said the odor may have come from the pig pens operated by residents at the back of the compound.
“The dried shark fins smelled like ordinary dried fish, and we don't think the smell could reach far outside the compound,” he told Sun.Star Cebu in Cebuano yesterday.
Acting on the complaints of residents, members of the City Business Inspection Board went to the firm’s compound last Saturday morning, but the company’s officer-in-charge stopped them from checking the facilities, saying they needed permission from the owner.
The inspectors returned to the firm last Tuesday at 11 a.m. and asked the management to present permits. Since no permits were shown, Radaza signed a cease-and-desist order addressed to Andrew Wee. The order was delivered to the firm around 4 p.m.
Radaza ordered the establishment to stop its operation until it gets a permit from City Hall and other concerned agencies.
She also ordered the establishment to assure City Hall in writing that it will comply with the order and “clean the air and (their) surroundings immediately.”
Abdulla said the firm has only started operating a few months ago. The firm imports shark fins and exports these when dried.
He said their building is under renovation. “Wa pa mi mag-full operation (Our operation has yet to go full swing),” he said.
Abdulla said they have dried 12 to 21 sacks of shark fins since he started working for the firm less than two weeks ago. Each sack weighed about 11 to 14 kilos.
Abdulla said he and seven other workers observed sanitary standards in drying shark fins. They only put the shark fins to dry under the sun from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Afterward, they put these to a “show room” where these are further dried using fans and heaters.
He said they cleaned the drier using chlorine.
Abel Armenteros, 40, a worker in a nearby factory that manufactures fiber-glass pots, said he smelled foul odor, especially in the afternoon, but he didn't know whether the smell came from the plant or from pig pens.
“Di masabtan nga baho (I couldn't figure out the odor),” he said.
The Provincial Board (PB) recently passed an ordinance penalizing anyone catching, transporting, disposing of and selling any shark species but it will not apply in Lapu-Lapu, an independent city.
But PB Member Thadeo Ouano said the Lapu-Lapu City Government can adopt the Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ordinance.
The PB amended the ordinance to include stronger protection for all shark species.
Those who violate the ordinance may be fined P5,000 or be imprisoned for a year or both.
The ordinance grants exemptions to those that can present proof that the shark or its parts will be used for research or educational purposes.
Ouano said the Province plans to come up with Fisheries and Aquatic Resources book to guide local law enforcers in identifying protected species and regulations related to fisheries, among others. RSB/FMG
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 05, 2014.