TUGUEGARAO CITY — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) region 2 filed last Tuesday a criminal complaint against three fishers for alleged use of sodium cyanide in the collection of aquarium fish.
The act is prohibited under Sec. 92 of RA 10654. The complaint was filed before the Office of Provincial Prosecutor in Aparri, Cagayan.
The fishermen were identified as Christopher Ladesa, Dexter Roaya and JR Botalid, all from Sta. Ana town, this province.
According to the complaint affidavit signed by Jerome Tuddao, Fisheries Regulation Officer of BFAR RO2, they were conducting seaborne patrol along Sta. Ana on Sept. 02, 2016 when they chanced upon the alleged violators.
Tuddao said that upon approaching the area, they observed presence of hose or pipes which confirm the use of compressor in fishing.
Upon inspection, Tuddao said that they found aquarium fishes packed into plastic bags. But, Tuddao said the fishermen failed to present any fishing permit or other pertinent papers.
While the fishermen claimed that they were employing legitimate methods in fishing, Tuddao said that they suspected otherwise.
As standard procedure, Tuddao and his team collected samples composed of three pieces False Clown Fish, for examination. The samples were submitted and analyzed at the BFAR RO2 Cyanide Detection Test Laboratory here, on the same day.
Examination confirmed that the fish were collected using cyanide.
If found guilty, the fishermen can face a fine of PHP30,000.00 and 5 to 10 years imprisonment.
The use of cyanide in fishing has been the subject of fishery law enforcement operations in recent months. On June 2, 2016, the Bureau has released back into the wild an entire shipment of aquarium fish, samples of which tested positive for cyanide.
BFAR RO2 Regional Director Dr. Milagros Morales said that the Bureau will further intensify its efforts in order to curb, if not put a halt to the practice.
Sodium cyanide when used in fishing is known to damage corals and the marine environment in general. When used to catch food fishes, the chemical can also cause health damage. PNA/northboundasia.com