DAGUPAN CITY: Mayor Belen Fernandez expressed the need to protect the 15-kilometer municipal waters of Dagupan now being intruded by illegal fishers coming from nearby provinces.
This after an illegal fisher was caught red-handed Saturday by members of Task Force Bantay Ilog while conducting dynamite fishing near a fish aggregating device called payao installed by the Dagupan City government and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), some three kilometers off Barangay Pugaro of this city.
The suspect riding on a motorboat was brought to the Dagupan Police Station where a complaint was lodged against him for violation of Republic Act 8550.
At that time, Mayor Fernandez and her group were visiting the “payao” installed in March this year to check reports by Task Force Bantay Ilog that it is now teeming with fish.
Accompanying the mayor were divers who included Dagupan Councilors Karlos Reyna and Jose Netu Tamayo, and Councilor Maan Verzosa of Lingayen and another diver Yoyong Balingit.
“Coincidentally, we chanced upon a group of fishermen doing blast fishing activity near the payao. Two fishing boats immediately escaped after their occupants saw us. But one was not able to get away,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez said the person on board the boat admitted he was buying dynamite fish, adding that when the fishes in her motorboat were examined, they were found to have been caught by means of underwater explosion.
A report said that the fishermen who escaped were from Agoo, La Union.
Mayor Fernandez said she will write shortly to the Maritime Police headquarters in Manila to seek better protection of the city’s municipal waters being intruded oftentimes by blast fishermen from other provinces.
“There are no blast fishers in Dagupan City and those who are doing illegal fishing in our municipal waters are outsiders,” she said.
At the same time, divers confirmed to Fernandez that the municipal waters, some three kilometers off island Barangay Pugaro in Dagupan City can be promoted as an excellent diving site.
She said based on account of divers, the water there is clear, very transparent and the fishes of different colors are swimming along with them (divers).
Since two city councilors were among the divers, they might soon propose to me for certification an ordinance declaring the water some three kilometers off Pugaro as permanent diving site, the mayor said.
The diving site is located just in the vicinity of the existing payao, the mayor said. It is this place where the mayor wanted to be protected by people of Dagupan City.
Fernandez said they are now talking to Dr. Westly Rosario, chief of the National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center (NIFTDC) to help in the fabrication of as many payao aggregating devices as possible to be installed in the city’s municipal waters.
Since payaos attract schools of fishes and stay there for a longer time, fishermen can catch them using only line fishing.PNA