Latest Stories

Sold for meat, manta ray seized in Pasil fish market


Blame it on a high demand for non-meat dishes on Holy Week and illegal hunters.

A 60-kilo manta ray was confiscated yesterday from a stall in Pasil market in barangay Suba, Cebu City.

Illegal fishers, who  hunt the protected species in seas between Bohol and Cebu, tried to slip the large manta ray in Cebu City’s biggest fish market.

It was already cut up in three parts and encased in plastic when it was put on display.

“We were waiting for the owner to arrive but no one came to claim it. The stall owner said the fish was just placed there,” said Maria Merlyn Catipay, OIC of the fisheries division of the Cebu City Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries.

At first glance, the pectoral fins looked like the ordinary tail of a fish displayed without its head.

The manta ray was spotted by a roving inspector of the DVMF.

The stall owner told Catipay he knew the animal was a protected species and left it unwrapped.

The manta ray is considered a “vulnerable” species in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species.

Just this month in Bangkok, Thailand, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreed to increase protection of manta rays along with four other commercially exploited species of sharks.

Manta rays are now in the CITES II list which means there is increased protection allowing legal and sustainable trade.

Under Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code, it is unlawful to hunt, kill or sell rare, threatened or endangered species listed in the CITES list. Violators face a P120,000 fine or prison term of 12 to 20 years.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) prohibits taking, selling, purchasing, possessing, transporting and exporting manta rays and whale sharks. A fine of P500 to P5,000 and imprisonment for six months to four years or both will be imposed on the violator.

Catipay said the manta ray may have been caught in the seas off  Bohol where manta ray hunting has long been recorded in Pamilacan Island.

Pasil port where fishing vessels dock is being monitored as an entry point of illegal marine products, said DVMF chief Alice Utlang.

“That is why our team is roving the port and inspecting the meat being sold in the market,” Utlang said.

The other week, Cebu Daily News reported a carenderia in Pasil that serves stew made of sea turtles or pawikan, an endangered species.

Like the manta ray, which is served as “larang”, the exotic soup is a delicacy that draws people from all walks of life to the Pasil fish market.

Utlang said the illegal trade of endangered species exists but she doesn’t consider it rampant.

“They thought that since it’s a holiday today our inspectors would not be there.  That’s why they tried to sell this manta ray,”Utlang said.

After CDN reported about the Pasil carenderia selling pawikan stew, the eatery stopped serving the dish and the owner hasn’t been seen around, said Utlang.

The confiscated manta ray will be buried in the grounds of the DVMF office at the North Reclamation Area in Cebu City.

Usually law enforcers who confiscate fresh fish from vendors during anti-illegal fishing operations donate the seized goods to the city jail or charity organizations.

But the seized manta ray will not be fed to beneficiaries.

“We respect that these are endangered species. We don’t want this to be fed to animals in the Cebu City zoo,” Utlang said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Animals , endangered species , Fish , manta-ray

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  • Classmates celebrating 60th birthday among missing in ferry sinking
  • Sports

  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • Marketplace