DA-BFAR team nabs poachers
() - February 6, 2005 - 12:00am
Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap commended recently the officers and crew of DA-BFAR MCS 3002 for apprehending two Malaysian fishing boats poaching in Philippine territorial waters. The team is composed of the law enforcement team of DA-BFAR (Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) and the Philippine Cost Guard.

Yap said the eight Indonesians in the fishing boat are committed to the Palawan provincial jail after the Office of the Prosecutor found sufficient evidence for violation of Section 87 of RA 8550 (poaching). The two Malaysian fishing vessels are now docked at the Puerto Princesa pier awaiting court disposition. Their catch of 600 kilos worth P15,00 were donated to hospitals, penal and charitable institutions in Puerto Princesa.

A report submitted by Virgilio Alforque, director of BFAD Region 4-B (Mamiropa: Marinduque, Mindoro, Romblon and Palawan) said the fishermen were caught by a composite team of the Philippine Coast Guard and DA-BFAR operatives in their fishing vessels (bow nos. SN 20883/4F and SN 8770.4F) while poaching in the vicinity of the Balabac, Palawan.

BFAR Director Malcolm I. Sarmiento said since the delivery of DA-BFAR MCS 3002 in May last year, the vessel had already scored four major apprehensions, the first one only last Oct. 13, 2004 involving two Vietnamese fishing boats caught poaching off Bataraza, Palawan. The nine Vietnamese fishermen pleaded guilty of poaching and were sentenced to jail and fined $100,000 for each boat.

MCS (Monitoring, Control and Surveillance) 3002 is one of the 14 units of 30-meter patrol boats acquired by the government through a Spanish grant. The boats could easily reach a top speed of 28 knots in a matter of minutes. They are equipped with state-of-the-art navigational instruments including positional systems that could pinpoint the exact location of a suspected vessel.

Sarmiento said "the acquisitions of the patrol vessels will strengthen the capability of the government to protect the integrity of the country’s territorial waters. With the use of patrol vessels as an important component of the MCS system, it is expected that poaching will be curbed and disputes concerning municipal sea boundaries, pollution and declining marine and national security will be addressed."

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY ARTHUR C CONTROL AND SURVEILLANCE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES DIRECTOR MALCOLM I OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR PALAWAN PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD PHILIPPINE COST GUARD PUERTO PRINCESA ROMBLON AND PALAWAN SARMIENTO
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