BFAR 2 launches crackdown on unlicensed fishing vessels, illegal fishing

TUGUEGARAO CITY — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) here has launched a crackdown on unlicensed Commercial Fishing Vessels (CFVs) as part of its broader mission to implement provisions of RA 10654.

BFAR-Region 02 Fishery Law Enforcement Chief Atty. Samuel Agaloos said that since last week, FLE personnel of the agency have apprehended 7 commercial fishing vessels, and one rescue boat used in fishing. The commercial fishing vessels named as ‘SRJ’ and ‘Ann Mark’ have paid compromise fine amounting to a total of Php65,000.

Criminal complaint will be filed against the owners of the other vessels identified as F/B M Ghie (1), F/B M Ghie (2), F/B Solomons Mine, F/B Twin Sister, and F/B John Vie, Agaloos said.

Commercial fishing vessels are fishing vessels having gross tonnage of 3.1 and above and are designated to operate beyond municipal waters. These vessels are required by law to register with the MARINA and secure Commercial Fishing Vessels and Gear License with the BFAR.

“The operation of unlicensed CFVs are akin to colorum PUVs. They create unfair competition against legally operating fishing vessels,” Agaloos explained.

The law enforcement chief added that his unit has formed two FLE teams to tackle east and west part of the Babuyan Channel in Northern Cagayan, and a third team to tackle inland areas as well as other fishery law enforcement concerns. He said that his unit will also look into other pressing concerns such as the use of trawl (galadgad) and stationary nets (sayut).

Agaloos said that the Bureau has also strengthened its quarantine checkpoints to ensure that transported fish and fishery products have the necessary documents. In addition, the bureau will also establish a Cyanide Detection Test Laboratory in Sta. Ana, Cagayan as measure to curb the use of cyanide in fishing.

BFAR RO2 regional director Milagros Morales said that the fishery law enforcement efforts of the agency go hand-in-hand with the establishment and monitoring of livelihood projects as well as the information campaign of the agency.

“We implement a holistic approach in order to solve the illegal fishing problem in Region 02,” Morales said.