Cases vs illegal fishers in Iloilo nearly doubled

Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998
Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998

In just five months, the criminal charges filed against illegal fishers in the province of Iloilo nearly doubled compared to last year’s accomplishment of Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force.

The task force reported that the number of cases filed in court increased from 13 in 2014 to 24 as of May 31, 2015.

This development shows how serious Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. in his campaign to prosecute the illegal fishers here, said Provincial Administrator Raul Banias.

“The governor declared an all-out war against illegal fishers in 2010 and it is gaining grounds now,” he said.

Of the cases hanging in court this year, 13 involved the use of hulbot-hulbot (Danish seine), while the rest were due to dynamites, fine nets, and active gears (e.g. trawl and round haul seine).

All of which were in violation of Sections 86, 89 and 90 of Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 and Fisheries Administrative Order 246 (Banning the use of Danish seine and modified Danish seine).

The task force also arrested 108 illegal fishers from January to May but their violations were subject to compromise fine with the concerned local government unit.

The fines go to the coffers of the municipal government and were used to strengthen the campaign against illegal fishing.

On June 1, the task force apprehended 30 additional illegal fishers using trawl off the coast of Malangabang and Baliguian Islands in Concepcion.

Eight of them were onboard the motorboats owned by Marylin Mosqueda of Barangay Odiongan, San Dionisio and the rest were owned and operated by Zaldy Francisco, Melvin Francisco, Marylin Careon, Ely Gabayeron, Rolando Gabayeron, Evelyn Soliman, Michael Moreno, Merline Panganiban, Josie Articulo and Froilan Aquino of Concepcion.

On June 2, six were apprehended for using round haul seine off Bagongon – Anhawan Island, Concepcion. They were onboard Mama Diday, a motorboat operated by Ellen Bebing of Talocgangan, Banate town.

The six were released from jail after paying a compromise fine of P15,000.

On June 4, another eight trawl fishers were arrested off the coast of Danao-Danao Island, Barangay Polopiña, and on the next day, there were six in Brgy. Macatunao, all in Concepcion.

The Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force is composed of three patrol teams and it operates 24/7 to ensure that the seas, especially those considered as marine sanctuaries, are protected even during wee hours.