The Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force has urged all local government units (LGUs) to acquire a drone to prevent rampant illegal fishing by commercial vessels especially in the northern part of the province.
Ret. Col. Lyndon Ruiz, task force head, said their team lacks the manpower and facilities to run after commercial vessels poaching in Cebu waters.
“We have patrol boats to roam around the sea waters of the entire province of Cebu but it cannot survive or sustain the capability of those commercial vessels engaged in illegal fishing with their powerful engines and armed men,” Ruiz said.
The first LGU to acquire a drone is San Remegio town, long besiege with illegal fishing activities.
A drone is an unmanned aircraft made of very light material that allows it to cruise at very high altitudes. It is equipped with infra-red cameras, GPS and lasers operated by remote control or from a ground cockpit.
The anti illegal fishing task force is composed of men from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources,
Philippine National Police and Bantay Dagat task force but Ruiz said most members work from Monday to Friday and have to observe rules on biometric and travel order.
“The problem is that based on the records some of those illegal fishing activities are done during weekends, at night and at dawn when my team is out of the office. The team must be exempted from biometric and travel order before they join the operation,” he pointed out.
He added that he plans to build a radar station to monitor every fishing activity in the sea waters of the province.