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Karagatan Patrol records decline in boat lights in municipal waters

By Mavic Conde

A decline in detections of boat lights within municipal waters across the country is recorded for the month of April, except for provinces of Masbate, Quezon, and Tawi-Tawi.

"Cumulative VIIRS [Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite] boat detection for April 2022 suggested that there was a decline in detections inside municipal waters," Karagatan Patrol, which uses the satellite sensor VIIRS to detect nocturnal fishing boats said.

Based on its data analytics, there was a 43.08 percent decrease in cumulative detection in April 2022 compared to the median value of 4,487 in the month of April from 2018 to 2022. These detections decline were recorded in Palawan, Sulu, Zamboanga del Sur (mainly Zamboanga City), Basilan, Iloilo, Marinduque, and Occidental Mindoro, according to Karagatan Patrol.

In Bicol region, the number of detections this year for the month of April is close to its record for the same month in 2019 which is 300. For this month, the top five municipalities and cities in the region with the highest boat detections within municipal waters were in Masbate. These were in San Pascual, Cauayan, Aroroy, and Claveria, and Vinzons in Camarines Norte. These ranks were nearly consistent too since 2018.

Masbate has constantly recorded the highest light boat detections in Bicol. In 2018, the province recorded a total of 2,491 boat detections; 5,614 in 2019; 5,721 in 2020; and 3,709 in 2021.

On April 24, a commercial fishing vessel operator in Balud town in Masbate was caught employing unlicensed fishing crews, which is in violation of Section 113 of RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654.

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