Maritime police to go after fish theft in the sea
By Yolanda Sotelo
LINGAYEN– Fish in the sea could be stolen and the culprits should face the full force of the law, the Maritime Police said.
The case, which could be the first of its kind, would be filed against the owners and operators of a fishing vessel that harvested the fish in the payao (a fish aggregating device) put up by a group of marginal fishermen of barangay Ilocanos Sur in San Fernando City, La Union.
The incident occured on February 5, according to a police report of the San Fernando City police.
Three fishermen – Rolly Calulmo, 43; Mario Ollero, 36; and Macelino Naparan, 48, reported to the police that the assorted fish in the payao were taken by Bolinao Starlight Sea Vessel at dawn of February 5.
Ollero said he went out to the sea to fish using his motorized banca and to check on the payao when he saw the crew of the fishing vessel harvesting the fish in the improvised fish trap.
One of the payao is owned by Ollero and Calulmo and the other by the barangay.
Ollero said he shouted at the vessel’s crew but he was ignored and continued harvesting the fish there.
After taking the fish, the vessel sailed away, while Ollero went back to shore and reported the incident to the other owners of the payao.
Ilocanos Sur chair Edwin Yumol asked the BFAR regional office to help the fishermen in the legal action they want to file against the vessel’s owner and operator “for harvesting (fish) in our payao with our knowledge and consent.”
The fishermen claimed the the assorted fish harvested from the payao could be worth at least P60,000.
But BFAR Regional Director Nestor Domenden said the case may be considered “theft” and not illegal fishing and asked for the help of Maritime Police in filing the case.
Supt. Baltazar Rivera, regional chief of the Maritime Police, said they would identify the owners and operators and would file the case against them
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