SUAL, Pangasinan – The local government unit (LGU) in this town is urging all fisherfolk here to avail of various programs that benefit them and participate in dialogues to address issues after seven fishermen allegedly involved in illegal fishing were arrested on Saturday.
“We encourage them to be with us because we’re doing this for their welfare and to protect the environment. We at the LGU give assistance, such as providing them with fishnets, among others, for their livelihood,” municipal legal officer lawyer Mageryl Shay de Guzman said in an interview.
De Guzman said law enforcers are now preparing to file appropriate charges against the said fishermen.
“These fishermen were reported on Saturday conducting illegal fishing activities using fine mesh nets and active gears to catch fish within the territorial waters of Sual by their fellow fishermen,” she said.
De Guzman said these fishermen violated the provisions under the Fisheries Code of the Philippines, as well as their existing municipal ordinance on responsible fishing.
“If found guilty, offenders will be meted a fine of PHP20,000 up to PHP100,000 for the use of fine mesh net while the use of active and destructive gears can be fined from PHP100,000 up and with the corresponding imprisonment,” she added.
De Guzman said the penalty for a violation under the municipal ordinance is only at PHP2,500.
In a radio interview, Sual municipal police chief Capt. Roger Calderon said they received a report about the alleged illegal fishing activities of some local fishermen within their municipal waters.
Based on the police spot report, suspects aboard the first boat were identified as Luisito Castillo, 56; Vito Castillo, 26; and Mark Jevin Mendoza, 26.
Aboard the second boat were Jovel Agang, 35; Joel Cabillan, 51; Marcelino Gulani, 57; and Jerome Gomias, 37, all residents of this town.
Apprehended individuals caught an accumulated 10 kilograms of assorted fish with an estimated value of PHP700.
Suspects and confiscated items are now under the custody of the municipal police station for proper disposition.
Agang, one of the fishermen, admitted they knew that what they were doing was illegal.
“Mga apat na buwan pa lang kami na ganito (illegal fishing). Dahil sa kakaunting huli, napilitan kaming gawin ito. (We were doing this for only about four months because of scant catch,” he said in a separate interview. (PNA)