33 nabbed for illegal fishing off Bantayan Island
A TASK force under the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) arrested 33 fishermen after they were allegedly caught fishing in prohibited areas in the waters off Bantayan Island, northern Cebu last Monday.
The fishermen were also caught using fine-mesh fishnets, said Chad Estella, head of Penro.
Two fishing vessels were seized during the separate arrests.
In the first apprehension, 18 fishermen aboard a vessel registered as Rav 2 were caught fishing in Madridejos town at 8:45 a.m., according to task force chief Loy Madrigal.
Madrigal said the second arrest was made in Santa Fe town. Fifteen fishermen on board Laura Lave were apprehended.
Madrigal said 72 buckets of fish were recovered from the two vessels including different species of clams, oysters, octopus and shrimps. Each bucket was estimated to contain 35 to 40 kilos of fish.
According to Estella, the confiscated buckets of fish were turned over to the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) for the inmates’ consumption.
A provincial ordinance prohibits the catching of fish within 15 kilometers from a town or city’s shores.
Estella said Gov. Hilario Davide III ordered them to enforce the laws of the province strictly.
“The laws are a bit old already but for whatever reason, it was not implemented well. Now the mandate of the governor is to implement the law irregardless of who it might involve,” he said.
Legal representatives from the two commercial shipping vessels said they are willing to pay the penalties, he said.
“It’s (fines) still being computed but it’s going to be big,” Estella said. /Correspondent Peter L. Romanillos
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