By Junex Doronio
July 6, 2021
LAPU CITY, Cebu – Showing its commitment to protecting marine life, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Region 7 (BFAR-7) on Tuesday announced the seizure of P13-million worth of banned fishery products in Barangay Punta Engaño.
In coordination with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), the “cutting edge” of the Philippine National Police (PNP), BFAR-7 Director Dr. Allan Poquita disclosed that two persons were arrested on June 30 by virtue of search warrants and several banned fishery products were confiscated.
Poquita urged the public to refrain from catching or gathering the protected species since they play a significant role in marine life.
At the same time, he asked the public to help BFAR-7 in curbing the illegal trade by reporting to authorities the people who collect species protected under the fishery laws, such as giant clams, helmet shells, and triton shells, among others.
The two arrested persons, whose names were withheld, were charged for violations of the following:
• Section 96 or the ban on coral exploitation and exportation
• Section 102 or fishing or taking of rare, threatened, or endangered species that are both stipulated under Republic Act (RA) 10654 or “an Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.”
They were also found violating Section 27 of RA 9147 or The Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act; and Section 2 of Fisheries Administrative Order 158 or the “Prohibition on the gathering, taking, collecting, selling, transporting or possessing for sale of mollusks belonging to the genus Triton or Charonia and Cassis.”
Seized during the joint operation of BFAR and CIDG at the premises of the two arrested individuals were:
• 3,213 pieces of helmet shell (budyong)
• three boxes containing 81 pieces of triton shell
• 384 pieces of giant clams (taklobo)
• 107 pieces of small-sized giant clams
• 52 kilograms of hoof shell (kukung kabayo)
• one box containing 42 pieces of shark jaw
• one box containing three pieces of dried sea turtle
• two sacks containing 33 pieces of organ pipe red coral.
Poquita said that based on the inventory, the estimated appraised market value of the confiscated fishery products are pegged at P12.96 million.
He added the CIDG took custody of the two arrested persons and the seized items while inquest proceedings will ensue. (AI/MTVN)