P1.4-M speed boat against illegal fishing

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Monday, March 30, 2015


THE Mandaue City Government bought a P1.4-million speed boat to fight illegal fishing.

Mayor Jonas Cortes yesterday turned over the boat to the Mandaue City Bantay Dagat Association.

He also witnessed the oath-taking of Bantay Dagat Association officers, who are local fishermen tasked to guard the city's fishing grounds.

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Aside from roving seas, the speed boat will also be used during disasters, said Cortes.

In an interview with reporters, he said he suggested that the City buy a speed boat instead of a pump boat so it can also be used for rescue operations.

Mandaue City is susceptible to flooding and hosts two major waterways: the Mahiga Creek and the Butuanon River.

Cortes lamented that illegal fishing, done mostly by fishermen from outside Mandaue City, has led to fewer catch for the city's fishermen.

"We have a lot of coastal barangays that we need to protect. To apprehend illegal fishers, we need this speed boat," he said.

Cortes said that illegal fish pens have proliferated on Cansaga Bay, in the boundary of Mandaue City and Consolacion town.

He said he will coordinate with Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado to address the problem.

Cortes said that when he was still a councilor and chair of the committee on agriculture, they would rent a pump boat to rove the city's fishing grounds.

"It was risky. With this speed boat, it is safer to monitor the fishing grounds," he said.

The speed boat will be handled by the City Agriculture Office and Bantay Mandaue 161 Command Center.

Last year, the City passed an ordinance establishing a fisheries code, which, among others, mandates the creation of an anti-illegal fishing task force.

The task force will be composed of trained local fishermen, representatives from the City Agriculture Office, and police officers.

Councilor Jimmy Lumapas, who sponsored the ordinance, witnessed the turnover ceremony and oath-taking of the Bantay Dagat Association officers.

Felix Suico, head of the City Disaster Risk and Reduction Office, said that the new Bantay Dagat officers were trained to operate the speed boat, which arrived last month.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2015.

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