Photo courtesy of Province of Antique FB Page (ctto)

Twenty-four men from Cebu were apprehended yesterday by the Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force for illegal fishing in the town of Patnongon. The men were caught conducting modified Danish Seine or hulbot-hulbot, one of the most destructive fishing methods.


This method uses weighted nets that are dragged along the ocean floor, damaging coral reefs and seabed communities. Police Lieutenant Benjamin Cabrillos of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group said that they have received a report from local fishermen of fishing vessels conducting hulbot-hulbot.


Together with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Patnongon PNP, the fishing vessel was nabbed and towed to San Jose Fish Port for impounding and confiscation of gears.


Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao said that cases will be filed against the owner, plus a fine. “For them to be released they have to pay a fine of Php 2 million pesos. As initial pa lang ‘yan.” Per Republic Act 10654, Section 97 and Fisheries Administrative order No. 246-1, violators will be fined the equivalent of five times the value of the fish caught or Php 2 million, plus confiscation of catch and gear. Boat captain, master fisherman, recruiter and organizers will face imprisonment of 2 to 10 years and pay twice the fine.


PLT. Cabrillos said that the local fishermen have had problems with illegal fishers in Patnongon for two decades. “After almost 20 years, nalipay man sila nga may nadakup nga amo ni klase sang paagi nga pagpangisda, ang hulbot-hulbot.”


PLT. Cabrillos is currently investigating seven more illegal fishing vessels, as reported by the local fishermen. “Gapangayo kami bulig sa mga magagmay nga mangingisda nga makahatag impormasyon sang plastaran amo ni nga illegal fishers.”


Five banyeras of confiscated fish were then turned over to the Patnongon LGU to be distributed to charity institutions. (P.I.O LAVEGA)