TUGUEGARAO CITY: The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office here destroyed the illegal electro-fishing gears which were confiscated in Cagayan and Isabela provinces.
BFAR officials said that it has been the practice of fishermen in Cagayan Valley for the longest time the use of electricity, explosives, noxious and poisonous substances.
BFAR’s chief of fisheries resources and quarantine division Arsenio Banares said that some of the fishing paraphernalia were voluntarily surrendered as a result of BFAR’s massive advocacy against blast-fishing.
“Fishermen have also now become aware of the severe punishment imposed upon those found in possession of illegal fishing gadgets,” Banares said.
Banares said less than a hundred fishing gadgets were destroyed.
“These fishing gadgets were confiscated and some were voluntarily surrendered by fishermen in various municipalities in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela,” Banares said.
Banares cited Republic Act 8550, otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, which prohibits the use of electricity, explosives, noxious or poisonous substance.
He also cited Section 88 which states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to catch, take or gather or cause to be caught, taken or gathered, fish or any fishery species in Philippine waters with the use of electricity, explosives, noxious or poisonous substance.”
He said that the violation of the code includes the discovery of explosives and chemical compounds which contain combustible elements or equipment or device for electro-fishing in any fishing vessel or in the possession of any fishermen, operator, fishing boat official or fish worker.
“The discovery shall constitute a prima facie evidence, that the same was used for fishing in violation of the code [and]that even the mere possession of explosive for illegal fishing shall be punishable by imprisonment ranging from six months to two years,” Banares said.