Bicol police say 2,000 illegal fishing suspects nabbed
LEGAZPI CITY—Police in the Bicol region claimed to have arrested up to 2,000 illegal fishing suspects last year, saying it was the result of a sustained campaign against destructive fishing methods.
Chief Supt. Victor Deona, Bicol police director, said 2,027 persons involved in illegal fishing in the region had been arrested and jailed last year.
The figure was 300 percent higher than that of 2013, during which 627 were arrested, he said.
Authorities had also seized 64 commercial fishing vessels in the municipal waters along Burias Pass, where large-scale fishing is prohibited, covering the provinces of Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines Sur. Also seized were hundreds of small boats used in illegal fishing.
Police have also confiscated about 2,000 kilograms of illegal fish catch, said Deona.
So far, 211 cases had been filed in court against big time commercial fishing operators for violating the fishery law.
Deona said in the first half of this year, the number of seized commercial fishing vessels went down to only two, because of the intense campaign. In the first half of this year, only 44 persons had been arrested and 765 kg of illegal fish catch were seized.
He said the fishing method purse seine, or pangulong, is the most damaging in Bicol as it drags a heavy net along the ocean floor.
“There’s heavy pressure on the PNP (Philippine National Police) but we are serious in our campaign to save our marine resources. While there is time, we need to act together to curtail illegal fishing to save our seas,” said Deona.
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