Bantayan fishermen regain sea jewel

After a tireless illegal fishing campaign in the north, Bantayan Island’s sea has now regained its abundance.

Recently,  a group of fishermen caught 11 Tangigi (Spanish Mackerel) and Malasugi (Marlin) fishes in a single sail at the municipal waters of Santa Fe.

These were caught just within eight (8) kilometers from the shoreline. Republic Act 8550 or the “Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998” defined municipal waters as within the 15-kilometer zone from the coastline.

Kung walay illegal fishing musod, makakuha gyud mig daghan nga isda diha lang sa duol. (If there’s no illegal fishing here, we can really catch more fish that close),” said Roel Gilbuena of Barangay Pooc, Santa Fe.

Gilbuena sold the fish to the resorts in Sante Fe for P180 per kilo. One Tangigi fish scaled 11 kilograms. Gibuena said they just used a spear of about one and one half (1 and ½) hand span to catch the fish.

Now, Gilbuena, who also serves as a tanod, said they could earn as much as five thousand pesos a day. He and his three (3) companions will divide the proceeds.

Previously, Gilbuena said, they could not find these types of fish within the municipal waters due to illegal fishing. They still had to go as far as the province of Masbate to fish, he added

“Sa una adto pa mi sa Masbate dapit, usahay adto pami puyo. Pero gasto na kaayo. Bintaha gyud kung diri kay barato. (If we could not catch here, we went to Masbate area. Sometimes we even slept there. But it is so expensive),” he said.

Loy Anthony Madrigal, Capitol chief of security, said this shows why the sea should be protected from illegal fishing. “Karon daghan na sila ug kuha ug nagkaduol ang mga isda. Kami sa task force dako sad namong kalipay nga miresulta na among tahas,” said Madrigal.

Last January, the Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force apprehended three (3) vessels in just a few hours. These were caught fishing within the municipal waters of San Remigio town in the north. Different persons owned them. Madrigal is a team leader of this task force.

To sustain the gains, the Capitol now helps the local government units establish their own Bantay Dagat.

Madrigal admitted he already received threats for his job. But he stated he will not stop because  the governor is fully supportive of the campaign.

“Mao man gud ni ang tinguha sa gobernador ug bise gobernador nga mahunong kining illegal fishing,” he said.