Hotspots for illegal fishing: 8 northern Cebu LGUs to get new patrol boats
May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - August 5, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - At least eight municipalities in northern Cebu will receive new and advanced patrol boats to be used in monitoring their respective waters that are hotspots for illegal fishing.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-7 will be distributing the patrol boats as it aims to heighten surveillance, strictly enforce fishery laws, as well as safeguard marine resources even in municipal waters over which the bureau has no authority.

Fourth District municipalities Bantayan, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Medellin, San Remigio, Santa Fe, Tabogon, and Tabuelan will each receive new patrol boat from BFAR today.

“Northern Cebu has been considered as one of the hotspots in Central Visayas when it comes to illegal fishing that is why we have prioritized these towns,” said BFAR-7 director Andres Bojos.

BFAR-7 has its own patrol boat for its own monitoring in commercial waters in northern Cebu.

They particularly monitor the Visayan Sea situated above the northern part of Cebu and is regarded as the major fishing ground for sardines, herrings, and mackerels in the country.

BFAR-7 annually issues a commercial fishing ban within the Visayan Sea, from November 15 until February 15 of the next year, the spawning season of the three marine species.

But the bureau only has jurisdiction over commercial waters and no longer over municipal or inland waters (15 kilometers from the coastline), over which the LGUs have exclusive authority to grant fishery privileges.

“There had been several concerns of illegal fishing in municipal waters and LGUs complain that they don’t have surveillance boats. Now, we want to develop their capabilities through providing resources for them to look over their respective areas,” said Bojos.

He added that the bureau wants to empower LGUs on fishery law enforcement as provided under Republic Act 10654, an act to further prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Most of the violations of the fishery laws reported in northern Cebu are the use of prohibited methods such as dynamite fishing and the intrusion of commercial fishing operators in municipals waters.

“We are hoping that these LGUs will be using these surveillance boats in protecting their waters from illegal activities to preserve and manage the marine resources that will also benefit their constituents,” Bojos further said.

The turnover of the patrol boats is scheduled at 9 a.m. today at Carmen Wharf in Carmen town, Cebu and is expected to be attended by respective LGU officials, enforcement officers, representatives of other agencies and officials of BFAR-7.  (FREEMAN)

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