TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said on Thursday a criminal complaint for poaching in Batanes has been filed against two Taiwanese officers and four Indonesian crew members.
BFAR Region 2 officers identified the Taiwanese as Horng Tian Ding and Huan An Shenq while the Indonesian crew were identified as Aru Apriyanto, Samhuri, Rasugi and Muhammad Abnu Khafif.
BFAR law enforcer Edwin Gonzales said an administrative case will also be filed before the BFAR Central Office, and the defendants can be meted with a fine of $1.2 million with six months to two years and two months imprisonment if found guilty by the court.
Gonzales said that if they are found to be repeat offenders, the crew can face three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $2.4 million under Section 91 of Republic Act 10654 that penalizes illegal fishing activities.
On the early morning of May 7, the suspects were manning Sheng Feng No. 12 vessel when BFAR law enforcers and the Philippine Coast Guard apprehended them within the municipal waters of Batanes.
Gonzales said the fishery law enforcers were on routine patrol mission on board MCS 3010 patrol vessel when they chanced upon the Taiwanese vessel.
He said the vessel was stationary at that time and its crew were preparing to deploy their long-line fishing gear.
“The fishing vessel first maneuvered to evade but later on allowed the law enforcers to board. The foreign vessel was apprehended 12 kilometers east of North Island,” Gonzales added.
Further inspection conducted by BFAR officials revealed Sheng Feng No. 12 is registered in Taiwan but other documents show that it used to be registered in the Philippines as Teresita 16, which was part of the fishing fleet owned by Lai Lai Fishing and Development Corporation.
BFAR outgoing Region 2 Director Jovita Ayson said the same company owned Teresita 6, a fishing vessel apprehended by BFAR Region 2 in June 2007.
“The Taiwanese crew of Teresita 6 were then found administratively liable for poaching and were ordered to pay $200,000 as administrative penalty,” Ayson said.
However, the fine remains uncollected to date, according to BFAR.