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PIA Press Release

BFAR donates ton of confiscated fish to gov't hospitals, jails in Aurora

Baler, Aurora (15 May) -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) today distributed a ton of confiscated fish to hospitals, jails, police stations and other government institutions here.

The distribution was witnessed by Senator Edgardo J. Angara and Finland Ambassador to the Philippines Heikki Hannikainen who took time off an ongoing Water Conference on the Wise Adaptation of Technologies for Clean H2O (Water WATCH) scheduled 14-16 May at the Bay's Inn Conference Tenthouse in Baler, according to BFAR national director Malcolm I. Sarmiento Jr.

The fish were lifted out from the hull of CT4/1750, a Taiwanese fishing vessel caught poaching in the coastal waters off Baler following a hot pursuit conducted by elements of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and BFAR enforcement officers aboard BFAR's MCS 3010 patrol vessel.

The hot pursuit lasted for 15 minutes at around 10:30am from Diapitan Bay to Casapsapan Bay last May 10.

Senator Angara congratulated BFAR and the PCG, noting that this is already the second time a foreign poacher was caught in the area since July 2009. The two fishing boats, with body numbers BK/7426 and CT4/1750 are now in the custody of the local prosecutor's office in Aurora, he said.

"I will talk to the Taiwanese Embassy to support our drive against poaching," he said. Angara added that he would continue to support the current drive of BFAR against illegal fishing and of other institutions to combat all other offenses against the government.

In a report to BFAR Director Sarmiento, BFAR regional director Peregrino E. Valestramon said that the crew of the fishing vessel is headed by a Taiwanese (captain) and 8 Indonesians who are now detained at the Aurora provincial jail.

Sarmiento said that poaching in Philoippine waters carries a fine of not less than US$50,000 and not more than US$200,000, in addition to confiscation of the catch, fishing equipment and the fishing vessel.

This early in the year alone, 4 foreign poachers were caught by the intensified collaboration between BFAR and the PCG to curb poaching and illegal fishing in Philippine waters, Sarmiento said.

"We have to be very serious about this matter, considering the country loses at least 458,850 metric tons valued at P26.5 billion annually from poaching and destructive fishing activities," he said.

"Such losses are huge, and if not curbed, it would continue to deny our local fisherfolks of their source of income; worst, it may even lead to the depletion of our fish stocks," Sarmiento added.

BFAR has deployed 13 highspeed MCS patrol vessels in strategic locations nationwide to serve as deterrent not only to foreign poachers, but to local fishing operators who continue to use illegal fishing methods such as dynamite and cyanide fishing.

Todate, the number of arrests made by the joint operations of BFAR and PCG totaled to 29 foreign poachers operated mostly by Taiwanese, some Malaysians, Vietnamese and Chinese. Apprehensions of local illegal fishers totaled 391 from 2004 to 2009.

Sarmiento appeals to the local fisherfolk, especially the Bantay Dagat members to continue vigilance against illegal fishing. "The BFAR and PCG cannot do this alone. We need your help to report sightings of illegal fishing in your respective areas," he said. (BFAR/PIA) [top]

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