Cebu News

Garcia: I’m not anti-marine animals

Michael Vencynth H. Braga/RHM - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Following the criticisms he received over his stance on regulating the population of whales, sharks, and dolphins, Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Gamaliel Garcia yesterday made it clear that he is not against the existence of the said marine animals.

He called on critics to respect his opinion and suggestions, as he also suggested that commercial fishing should not be totally banned at the Tañon Strait, the country’s largest marine protected area.

He said that while the supply of fish for Cebu has gone down because of the ban, demand remains high, resulting to soaring prices of fish.

“If you totally eradicate commercial fishing in Tañon Strait, di ta ka-sustain sa demand sa tawo because our population is increasing. You cannot feed 4 million people in Cebu kung mamingwit lang ka,” he said, adding that the low supply of fish has caused their price in the market to increase.

He said normal fishing alone cannot meet the high demand for fish.

“Akong sugyot nila there should be a law allowing commercial fishing in a certain month. Dili lang i-ban totally ang commercial fishing,” Garcia said.

To those who flogged him over his statement that whales, sharks and dolphins are “parasites” who complete with humans for food their population should be controlled, he said they could correct him without being insulting.

“We are in a democratic country. I hope they also respect other people’s opinion. Mo-react unta sila in a constructive way, not in a destructive way,” he told The FREEMAN over the phone yesterday.

He maintained that experts and conservationists should also consider regulating the population of huge marine animals that prey on fishes rather than focusing on their protection.

He said these animals consume more than a ton of fish a day, which he he believed is the reason for the decline of fishing yields.

“Di man ko anti-shark or unsa ba. If they (conservationists) can come up with something good without killing the whales, dolphins or even sharks, I’m for it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez called on the concerned agencies to invest in the enforcement of the law against illegal fishing.

He said stakeholder meetings and summits would do nothing if law enforcement remains weak.

He pointed out that equipment and gadgets used by illegal commercial fishers are advanced compared to that of local anti-illegal fishing task forces and the “bantay dagat.”

“How can you apprehend them (illegal fishers)…(when they are) 10 steps ahead of you in terms of technology? Unsa may saligan anang atong mga bantay dagat? Pumpboat lang?  Sige lang ta og panggukod,” he said during a visit to the Cebu Provincial Capitol Wednesday.

He had just come from a stakeholder’s summit on the protected seascape on Tañon Strait at that time when the reporters sought his stand on illegal fishing in the province.  (FREEMAN)


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