On dynamite fishing

READER’S VIEWS - Joselito S. Berdin - The Freeman

A famous adage says, "When the cat's away, the mice will play."

When the responsible government authorities show laxity in enforcing the law, there is no doubt criminals or lawless elements violate the law to their own advantage.

This paper's issue of June 2, 2023, pushed me to comment on the reported dynamite fishing at Magellan Bay, in the waters west of Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City.

We all know dynamite fishing is illegal. It is a shortcut method, an easy way to harvest fish utilizing the non-traditional and dangerous kind of explosive that kills fish of whatever kind and causes massive damage to coral reefs and the marine environment per se.

Let me divulge here the sea areas where blast fishing is likewise rampant. The waters between Pandanon and Cabul-an Islands or even up to the waters near the uninhabited part of Nasingin Island all in Bohol are just some of the places or sea areas where dynamite fishing continues unabated.

I have been transiting several times in the aforementioned sea areas and visibly observed from a distance the illegal blast fishing carried out by fisherfolks in broad daylight.

Perhaps responding to some complaints from concerned citizens, I could only recall one instance when a coast guard ship anchored in the vicinity of Cabul-an Island the whole day but it disappeared at the said location the following day. At any rate, the presence of coast guard ship was a great help in minimizing illegal fishing. I saw no single fishing boat roaming around the area, the seawater being disturbed only by the ripples and the sound of sea current.

We should not let those fishermen to continue with their illegal way of catching/harvesting fish as if the law cannot go after them. They should be arrested and prosecuted and if proven guilty be meted the punishment they deserve.

I challenge our concerned maritime authorities to make a surprise visit undetected by the fishermen thereat. It would be better if they just travel by ferry boat or pumpboat and see for themselves the illegal fishing being carried out mostly by the fisherfolks living in the islands mentioned earlier.

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