ILOILO – In spite of the relentless efforts of law enforcers to curb the illegal fishing in this province, there are still “fearless” fishermen who cannot let go of their old habits.
This is according to Provincial Administrator Raul Banias who is dismayed of reports that hulbot-hulbot (Danish seine) operation returned in Carles despite the ban.
“A friend of mine reported to me last Saturday that hulbot-hulbot is operating again in Carles. Four days thereafter, the Bantay Dagat validated the report and caught two groups of fishermen,” Banias said in an interview on Friday.
Led by SPO1 Gilbert Piedad, the Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force apprehended 18 fishermen, including a minor, using hulbot-hulbot to poach off Naburot Island in Carles.
They were onboard two motorboats owned by Rabbie Cardova and Victoria de la Rosa who were both residents of Barangay Pantalan, Carles.
The crew and pilot were identified as Ramon Barrios, Joeny Buhayan, Richard and Nody Mahilum, Cornelio Gallardo, Nilo Depalubos, Bobby dela Rosa, Paul John Cadiao, Chito Bacaling, Jay-R Mahinay, Jason Bitoon, Arvin Arnuevo, Rinz Nepocino, Rene Balana, Hayde Bagoy, Felicito Destor and Jess Gallardo.
Banias is suspecting that there might be a protection racket going on since the fishermen and the operators appeared untamed.
They even threw their fishing net and tom weight into the sea to avoid arrest. It took the task force 23 hours to recover those materials which will serve as evidence against them.
The task force then filed charges against the arrested fishermen in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Balasan and before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.
Among the charges were the violation of Sections 86, 89 and 90 of Republic Act 8550 and Fisheries Administrative Order 246 (Banning the use of Danish seine and modified Danish seine).
Others were against the provision of FAO 167-3 (Establishing Closed Season for the Conservation of Herrings, Sardines and Mackerels in the Visayan Seas) and Sec. 104 of RA 8550 (Commercial Fishing Vessel Operators Employing Unlicensed Fisherfolk/Fishworkers).
“I reported this to the governor already and by next week, he will call for a coordination meeting with agencies concerned. We cannot let our guard down,” he said.
The said meeting is expected to be attended by officials from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Maritime Command, Philippine National Police and Philippine Coast Guard. (Jezza A. Nepomoceno/Capitol News)