Photo grab of the fishing vessel apprehended by Marine Park Rangers involved in dynamite fishing near Tubbataha Reef.
By Glen S. Ramos
PUERTO Princesa City, Palawan – The Marine Park Rangers safeguarding the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park (TRNP) World Heritage Site apprehended a fishing vessel near the Jessie Beazley Reef, believed to be conducting dynamite fishing
The rangers found dynamites aboard the fishing vessel including five metric tons of fish harvested in the area, and a protected reef fish known as “humphead wrasse” or mameng.
Protected Area Superintendent at Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board Angelique Songco stated that it is the first time that a fishing vessel with a crew of 26 people was apprehended by park rangers.
“Matagal nang napansin ng mga rangers na sa Jessie Beazley Reef, may mga palutang-lutang na mga isda. May signs na talaga na may dynamite fishing. Nagkataon na binalikan nila ‘yong area na ‘yon at may nahuli nga sila,” she stated during an interview on Saturday, October 2, 2021.
Songco said that the fishing vessel was from Iloilo and was arrested on October 1, 2021, by the combined efforts of the Tubbataha Management Office, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Cagayancillo Bantay Dagat.
The boat was escorted to Puerto Princesa by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), where they will face appropriate charges.
“Sasampahan namin sila ng illegal entry, carrying explosives, and catching protected fish species. Ang lahat ng mga ito ay violation ng Republic Act 10067, or ng Tubbataha Act,” Songco added.
Any form of fishing has been deemed illegal in the Tubbataha Reef under national law and because it was declared as a World Heritage Site and marine protected area. (ai/mtvn)