PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Aug. 11 – The 70 pieces of sharks found aboard Vietnamese fishing vessel Hoa Huong have not yet been identified, according to a regional official of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-MIMAROPA.
BFAR-MIMAROPA OIC Regional Director Elizer Salilig related late Thursday afternoon to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that this is because they are still waiting for a shark specialist who will be sent to El Nido by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).
“As of this time, they remain unidentified. But a shark specialist from the PCSD is, hopefully, on the way here to help ID these sharks,” Salilig said.
He said that if they are threatened or endangered shark species, the Vietnamese fishermen can be charged for violating Section 87 of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic Act 8550, and Section 91 of Republic Act 10654 for poaching in Philippine waters.
Meanwhile, the suspected Vietnamese poachers have been identified as boat captain Nguyen Thanh Hiep, 46; Vo Van Lang, 47; Phan Dung, 49; Truong Cao Ky, 51; Dinh Van Hai, 46; Bui Van Bao, 30; Tran Ngoc Son, 24; Do Hung, 54; Nguyen Van Huynh, 56; Nguyen Cung Vu, 22 – all residents of the coastal province of Phu Yen, Vietnam.
The crewmen were arrested aboard Hoa Huong with bow number PV96572TS on the morning of August 8 by personnel of the Philippine Navy (PN) frigate BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF-15).
They were intercepted around 20 nautical miles southwest of the Malampaya natural gas platform or 32 nautical miles northwest of Tapiutan Island, Bacuit Bay, El Nido. The crew of the foreign fishing vessel remain under the custody of the navy in El Nido, northern Palawan. Celeste Anna Formoso/PNA-northboundasia.com