BFAR foils attempt to smuggle dried seahorses worth P1.2M
BACOLOD CITY — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has issued notices of violation to a shipper of about P1.2 million worth of endangered seahorses and a forwarding firm.
Marian Jill Abeto, BFAR head in Bacolod City, said 58 kilograms of dried seahorses were seized at the Bacolod Silay Airport about noon on Saturday when the forwarder sought a local transport permit from the BFAR for their shipment to Manila.
The quarantine staff discovered that the boxes did not contain dried fish as declared but dried seahorses, Abeto said.
“The transport of seahorses is a violation of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 that prohibits the taking and selling of rare, threatened and endangered fishery products,” she said.
Notices of violation had been sent to the shipper and forwarder who would have to face the BFAR-Western Visayas adjudication committee, pending filing of charges, Abeto said.
The seahorses were believed to have been taken from northern Negros, but no specific area was identified, Abeto added.
According to her, sea horses are used by the Chinese for medicinal purposes.
Carlito Delfin, BFAR-Western Visayas director, said the shipper of the seahorses was identified as Jerry Co of McKinley, Silay City, but they were still locating him.
“The BFAR will file also charges against the cargo forwarded if its personnel do not cooperate,” Delfin said.
It is illegal to collect seahorses because they are an endangered species. A violator could face a fine of from P300,000 to P5 million or imprisoned for three to five years. /atm
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