LEGAZPI CITY: The operations of bigtime illegal fishers poaching the waters of the Bicol region are numbered, Chief Supt. Victor Deona of the region’s police force said over the weekend.
Deona’s declaration was lauded by church and government officials in the Bicol region, as well as environmentalists and marginalized fishermen.
Recently, two large fishing vessels equipped with superlights and sophisticated fish-finder gadgets that were reportedly owned by a local official in Quezon province were apprehended by police operatives in the provinces of Masbate and Sorsogon.
Also, two large fishing boats with 1,000 chest coolers containing assorted fish catch were seized by a police patrolling team
while fishing inside the prohibited 15-kilometer municipal water off Barangay (village) Sapa, Pilar town in Sorsogon.
“They [boat captains and their crew]will be charged with illegal fishing for encroaching the municipal waters and for violation of the country’s fishery laws. Our law prohibits pangulong sea vessels, each weighing 10 tons, from catching fish inside the 15-kilometer municipal waters as only small fishing vessels weighing three tons are allowed to fish in municipal waters,” Deona said, referring to the large fishing vessels.
Rep. Fernando Gonzalez of the 3rd District of Albay lauded Deona’s serious campaign against illegal fishing because it helps curtail the operations of bigtime illegal fisher operators that are exploring the Bicol region’s waters, specifically in Burias Pass.
“We’re happy and laud Bicol police director Gen. Victor Deona’s serious campaign against illegal fishing because through him, the days of bigtime fishers are numbered. Several bigtime fishing operators are apprehended in Masbate and Sorsogon. This is good as our cops led by Gen. Deona are doing their job greatly,” the Congressman told The Manila Times.
Bishop Joel “Bong” Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi also commended Deona’s success against illegal fishing activities.
The pangulong fishing boat drags nets along the ocean floor and the trawl nets capture anything in their path and seriously damages the seafloor.
This fishing method is prohibited under the Fisheries Code of the Philippine that was enacted in 1998.