TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Cagayan Valley has organized a quick response team to run after illegal fishermen in the region.
“We are fielding our quick response team to run after fishermen using explosives to stun or kill schools of fish for easy collection,” BFAR Regional Director Jovita Ayson said.
BFAR officials had said their effort is a declaration of an “all-out-war” against fishermen who illegally fish in Cagayan Valley. They said these wrong fishing practices affect a large number of young marine resources.
Aside from not discriminating between young and mature fishes, Ayson said blast fishing also kill large numbers of fishes and other marine organisms in the vicinity and can damage the environment, including coral reefs.
Blast fishing, she explained results in the immediate decline of in the numbers of fishes present over a certain area.
“Fishermen’s use of improvised explosives has not only destroy marine resources but has also put to danger fishermen resulting in accidents and injuries,” Ayson also warned.
Citing provisions of Presidential Decree No. 704 and Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 that prohibits the use of explosives in fishing, Ayson said that fishermen found guilty of illegal fishing practices face heavy penalties.
“The mere possession of explosives for illegal fishing is punishable by imprisonment ranging from six months to two years,” she said.
She also explained that actual use of explosives carries with it an imprisonment ranging from five years to 10 years without prejudice to the filing of separate criminal cases when the use of the same results in physical injury or loss of human life.