Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Regional Office No. 5
San Agustin, Pili, Camarines Sur 4418
Telefax: (054) 361-2326
BFAR-5, RLECC apprehend seven fishing vessels in San Pascual, Masbate
In its mandate to curb illegal fishing activities in Bicol, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) – Region 5 through the joint cooperation of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (RLECC) Sub-Committee on Fishing and Marine Environment Protection agencies apprehended seven commercial fishing vessels in two separate incidents in San Pascual, Burias Island, Masbate in violation of fishery laws.
On April 12,the Regional Task Force on Illegal Fishing of the RLECC composed of the Philippine Navy (PN) and BFAR-5 Fisheries Regulatory and Law Enforcement Division - Quick Response Team (FRLED-QRT) apprehended five commercial fishing vessels encroaching in the municipal waters of San Pascual, Burias Island, Masbate in violation of Sections 86(Unauthorized Fishing or Engaging in other), 90(Use of Active Gear in the Municipal Waters and Bays and Other Fishery Management Areas), 93(Illegal Use of Superlight) and 104(Commercial Fishing Vessel Operators Employing Unlicensed Fisherfolk or Fishworker or Crew) of Republic Act (RA) No. 8550 or Philippine Fisheries Code.
The apprehension transpired during a seaborne operation in Ragay Gulf aboard the Navy’s DF 321 assault craft composed of eight PN crew members headed by QM2 Cesar Especial Jr. and BFAR-FRLED Chief, Francisco Ombao.
The five vessels were detected at a distance of approximately 7 to 9 kilometres off Templo Island in San Pascual’s municipal waters in the act of using purse seine fishing net and superlight between 5:00 to 6:00 o’clock in the morning. The five fishing vessels were manned by 57 crew members. Found in their possession are 161 tubs (banyera) of small pelagic fishes such as roundscad, mackerels and tuna.The five vessels are: St. Benedict with 22 crew, St. Dominic with 7 crew, Sto. Niño de Pragawith 17 crew, Sto. Niño de Providencia with 8 crew, and an unnamed lightboat with 3 crew. Found in their possession are 161 tubs (banyera) of fish catch mostly round scad, mackerels and tunas.
Previously, two commercial fishing vessels were apprehended last April 4 also near Templo Island in San Pascual, Masbate during a seaborne operation of the RLECC Sub-Committee on Fishing and Marine Environment Protection aboard BFAR-MCS 3006 vessel in violation of Section 86 of RA 8550 and Section 16 of Fisheries Administrative Order 198.
The apprehending team are composed of BFAR-5 personnel headed by FRLED Chief, Francisco Ombao, CDR Hostilio Cornelio of the Philippine Coast Guard, Dr. Renato Almonte of the Department of Agriculture-RFU5, PSI Jeric Don Sadia of Police Regional Office 5, and Cristie Alvarez of DepEd.
Based on the documents presented, the vessel is named FV Domus Andrea. However, upon inspection, the portside and starboard side indicated no names. Furthermore, upon verification of the documents, the boat was registered as a catcher but utilized as a carrier. The other boat, stated by the Captain as FV Rejina, has no documents and unlicensed. It also has no name displayed on the portside and starboard side. The said fishing vessels are owned and operated by Rolando Gruta of Brgy. Lagyo, Gumaca, Quezon.
Criminal cases have been filed by BFAR against the responsible personnel of the apprehended fishing vessels. (ajoven/rcanabe)