SAN FERNANDO CITY – The police arrested twenty-six fishermen tagged as muro-amis and confiscated around 720 kilos of assorted fishes after a local Baywatch (bantay-dagat) team spotted them fishing illegally along the coast of Bauang, La Union.
PC/Supt. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, Director, Police Regional Office 1, said those arrested were Francisco Llever, boat captain of Princess Kate, resident of Pagdalagan, San Fernando City together with his fourteen crews and Lito Yasar, captain of Princess Charisse, resident of Pantal, Dagupan City with his ten crews.
Bataoil said the fishes were loaded in two fishing vessels, Princess Kate owned by Shirly Olasiman of Sual, Pangasinan, and Princess Charisse owned by Lilia Perez of Pantal, Dagupan City.
Investigations showed that police led by P/Supt. Pedro Obaldo, Bauang police chief, the Philippine Navy and the bantay-dagat team were tipped by residents here that two groups of fishermen onboard the fishing boats were illegally fishing along the 15-kilometer municipal water zone of Bauang.
The fishermen were caught conducting muro-ami fishing where fishermen dive into the deep sea and drive away fishes hiding in corals direct to the fine mesh nets.
Nestor Domenden, director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said the Fishery Code of the Philippines bans the use of fine nets in fishing because it does not spare even small fishes and fingerlings which could result to the decline of marine species.
Domenden said the fishermen and boat operators will be charged for illegal fishing in violation of Republic Act 8550 of the Fishery Code .
The fishing boats were grounded pending the result of the investigation while the fishes were distributed to various charitable institutions.
Commodore Vicente Agdamag, Commander of Naval Forces Northern Luzon, said the joint operation against the illegal fishers is in line with their campaign of eradicating rampant illegal fishing along the Lingayen Gulf.