LEGAZPI CITY,9Aug2013 (PNA) – Members of the Task Force Bantay Dagat apprehended a commercial fishing vessel operating within the prohibited 15-kilometer municipal fishing zone in San Pascual town in Masbate.
Lito Pavia, team leader of TFBD, said Wednesday that combined elements of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine National Police and Philippine Army, impounded the F/V St. John the Baptist, a purse seine fishing vessel, reportedly owned by one Noli Yu of Batangas.
The task force also arrested 24 crew members of the vessel who are now in the custody of the San Pascual Municipal Police Office.
The TFBD recovered from the fishing vessel some 10 containers of fish illegally caught in the designated fishing zone of San Pascual.
Task force members claimed that during the raid, they saw some of the vessel’s crewmen throwing a net full of fish into the water.
The government has intensified its campaign against illegal fishing by big commercial fishing vessels, which, according to a study, is slowly killing the industry.
Earlier last month, authorities held at least eight commercial fishing vessels for violating fishery laws in the coastal waters of San Pascual, according to Francisco Ombao, BFAR Fishery Regulatory and Law Enforcement chief.
Ombao cited instances where commercial fishing vessels were sighted operating within the 15-kilometer zone reserved for municipal fishers along the Ticao-Burias Pass covering the provinces of Sorsogon, Masbate, Albay and Camarines Sur.
He said among these vessels, eight are from the Divine Mercy Fishing Corp., owned by Rodolfo Apuli, a resident of Pioduran, Albay; three vessels from a Lucena-based operator, and fishing vessels owned by one lawyer William Enrile from Camarines Norte.
Commercial fishing vessels of more than three tons are prohibited to fish within the zone reserved for municipal fishermen. (PNA)