New patrol boats to boost drive vs illegal fishing

PATROL BOATS. Photo shows some of the 12 motorized patrol boats turned over by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to the Police Regional Office-5 in Legazpi City, Photo courtesy of Maj. Malu Calubaquib, Police Regional Office-5

LEGAZPI CITY --- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) turned over 12 units of motorized boats to the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO-5) on Monday aimed at strengthening the government’s fight against illegal fishing in Bicol region.

Prior to the turnover, the two parties signed a memorandum of agreement to form a joint task force that would carry out the fight against poaching.

Police Maj. Malu Calubaquib, PRO-5 spokesperson, said the task force dubbed as “Kasurog Sea Rangers” (KSR) will conduct anti-illegal fishing and other law enforcement operations.

“The KSR is tasked to enforce all laws for the protection of maritime and aquatic resources; conduct special operations against illegal activities committed in the coastal areas; assist in the conduct of investigation and filing of cases; conduct monitoring and seaborne patrolling as deterrent measure against illegal fishing and other illegal activities; and conduct search, rescue and retrieval operations,” Calubaquib said.

She said the project is anchored on the Philippine National Poli ce’s (PNP) core value of being “makakalikasan” or pro-environment to support the government’s objective to protect, conserve and manage the country’s fishery and aquatic resources.

Dr. Nelson Bien, BFAR-Bicol director, cited the partnership and support of the police organization in Bicol to the bureau in ensuring the protection of water resources and surrounding environments to maintain food security and uplift the lives of the fishermen.

“The 12 units of 30-footer motorized fiberglass patrol boats (twine engine) are part of the commitment and support of our agency to intensify and strengthen the campaign against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities,” Bien said.

Among the rich fishing grounds in Bicol are the Albay Gulf in Albay, and Lagonoy Gulf, Ragay Gulf and San Miguel Bay in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte; Sorsogon Bay in Sorsogon; and Asid Gulf, Burias Pass and Ticao Pass in Masbate.

Records show that from January to August this year, PNP-Bicol has conducted a total of 153 anti-poaching operations leading to the arrest of 484 violators of Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, as amended by RA 10654, otherwise known as “An Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing”.

There were 52 cases filed in the court after the arrests. Likewise, confiscated were 1,409 kilos of assorted fish, two fishing vessels, 29 fishing boats, 69 motorboats, 14 bancas, and 40 compressors.

PNP-Bicol appealed to the community for their support and cooperation for the realization of the anti-poaching initiative.