By BicolToday.com News Team
SORSOGON, 29October2016 (BicolToday.com) – Sorsogon 1st District Representative Evelina Escudero introduced a bill creating a special age
ncy called the Bicol Region Anti-Illegal Fishing Authority (BRAIFA) to strengthen the forces guarding the Bicol waters against illegal fishing.
The BRAIFA shall be composed of personnel from the offices of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Command.
Under the bill, the BRAIFA’s duties will include the intensive patrolling in the waters of Bicol; strict enforcement of anti-illegal fishing laws, rules and regulations, including arrest or apprehension of suspected illegal fishers, and the impoundment of vessels and equipment used in illegal fishing.
The Philippine Navy shall also assign at least two of its vessels with firepower capability.
Finally, a BRAIFA Advisory Council will be summoned to oversee the operations which shall be comprised of the governors of the six Bicol provinces.
From January to August this year, the PNP-Bicol reported a total of 102 legitimate anti-illegal fishing operations that have resulted a total of 449 arrests.
Of the 102 police operations, two were held from Albay, seven from Camarines Norte, 17 from Camarines Sur, 29 from Masbate, and 47 from Sorsogon, according to Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
In addition, the authorities intercepted 91 fishing vessels and 17 compressors. 736 kilograms of fish were also seized.
“Illegal fishing has become a serious, major concern in the region. Illegal fishing vessels originating from outside the region enter the vast Bicol waters. Sometimes these boats are equipped with high-powered weapons, hampering the efforts of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Philippine Coast Guard. Clearly, it is urgent that we provide additional measures to totally eradicate it,” Nanay Evie said. [BicolToday.com]