BUTUAN CITY – Anti-illegal fishing operations in Surigao del Sur have already netted a total of PHP496,335 in marine products and illegal fishing gear in the last four months, a police official said Monday.
From January 1 to May 8 this year, 69 persons have been arrested in 30 operations in the province for violating the country’s fisheries laws, said Col. James T. Goforth, director of Surigao del Sur Provincial Police Office (SDSPPO).
“Part of our mandate is to support the implementation of local laws, to include fishing regulations by local government units (LGUs) and national decrees of fisheries in our fishing ground,” Goforth said.
Goforth said the protection of the marine resources and providing support to measures to preserve the fishing grounds in the province of Surigao del Sur is among the priorities of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the area.
“Some of these operations were conducted during the lockdowns. There were fishers that continue to engage in illegal fishing during the quarantine period but our police stations managed to monitor them,” the police official said.
The most number of operations were conducted in the town of Lingig with a total of seven that resulted in the arrest of 11 persons and the confiscation of PHP86,010 worth of fishing paraphernalia and marine products.
Five operations were also conducted in the town of Cortes that led to the arrest of 19 persons and the seizure of PHP176,870 worth of fishing gear and marine products. In Lianga town, three operations resulted in the arrest of nine persons and the impounding of PHP44,000 fishing devices and marine products.
In San Agustin municipality, police said a total of PHP95,400 worth of paraphernalia and marine products were confiscated during the conduct of one operation that nabbed three illegal fishers.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the Caraga Region
(BFAR-13) has identified four fishing grounds as main sources of marine products in Surigao del Sur, namely the Hinatuan Passage, Lanuza Bay, Hinatuan Bay, and Bislig Bay.
BFAR said the identified fishing grounds are part of the study and evaluation conducted by the agency in its National Stock Assessment Program (NSAP) early this year, which indicated an 80 percent sufficiency rate of marine resources in the Caraga Region.
Goforth underscored the importance of information from residents in the area, which helped the police monitor illegal fishing activities in the province.
“Last year, we were able to confiscate more than PHP2 million worth of illegal fishing gears and marine products in series of operations,” Goforth said.
Data provided by SDSPPO said a total of 129 police operations against illegal fishing were conducted in the province last year that resulted in the arrest of 371 persons.
A total of PHP2,553,150 worth of illegal fishing gears and marine products were confiscated in 2019. (PNA)
Receive email updates from Mindanao Daily News.