Sta Ana fishermen save trapped dolphins anew
Tuguegarao City (December 3) -- Just a few days after two dolphins (one died and the other one was released) were saved in Palaui Island of Sta. Ana, Cagayan, another ten dolphins with an average length of 3 to 3.5 meters and 120 kilograms weight were freed by some fishermen in Brgy. Palawig of the same town after they were caught in a beach seine last November 29.
Milagros Morales, training center director of the Regional Fisheries Training Center in Aparri and who incidentally is from Sta. Ana, said she received an anonymous text message informing her of the incident.
Morales said she immediately informed Municipal Agriculturist Richard Alibania on the matter who then formed a team composed of fisheries staff and police escorts to verify the incident.
Upon reaching the site, the team saw that the fishermen who were then releasing the trapped dolphins.
Alibania said that one of the fishermen told him that they cannot be blamed for such incidences because at times, the dolphins themselves forcibly break into the fish net perhaps attracted by fishes caught therein.
Alibania added that dolphins usually frequent the coastal waters of Sta. Ana, perhaps attracted by the presence of prey such as shrimps and anchovies at this time of the year.
The municipal agriculturists stressed that the municipality must have an ordinance and a massive information campaign must be conducted for the protection of the species saying that some fishermen might be tempted to catch and butcher these species.
Alibania disclosed that during the earlier incident of trapped dolphins, the fishermen requested that they be allowed to butcher the dead one, but he declined saying that the act is prohibited by the law.
Municipal Veterinarian Elma Bermudez performed necropsy after which the dead animal was buried in the marine mammal cemetery located within the Provincial Fishery Station in Sta. Ana.
Section 97 of Republic Act 8550 prohibits the fishing or taking of rare, threatened or endangered species, to which marine mammals such as dolphins. The law carries a punishment of 12 to 20 years imprisonment and/or fine of 120 thousand pesos for violation thereof. (TCBicarme/PIA 2) [top]