Capitol task force seizes endangered shellfish worth millions

Member of the Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force seized a truckload of endangered shellfish locally know as budyong, in Poblacion, Minglanilla yesterday afternoon.

The shellfish was estimated to be worth millions of pesos, according to Security Officer IV Loy Anthony Madrigal who led the team.

Madrigal said that they were having a random inspection of heavy vehicles along the highway in the north and south section of the province when they chanced upon the vehicle, a six-wheeler truck in Poblacion, Minglanilla, which was loaded with endangered shellfish placed inside big boxes.

He said that they referred to the Internet for the cost of the confiscated shellfish and they found out that it would cost $5,000 each abroad. Based on the number of cartons containing such big haul, the seized shellfish could reach up to millions of pesos if sold in the US or in other countries.

The truck driver, Ronnel Lumapas, narrated that he and his companion, Delfin Jakosalem, Jr., came from Zamoanga City where a certain person told them to deliver the cargo to Cebu. He alleged that they were told the said cargo was just plain dried fish to be sold in Cebu. They were later surprised when, upon inspection by the task force, it contained the endangered shellfish not allowed for harvesting under Philippines laws.

Madrigal disclosed that the apprehended persons have violated Republic Act No. 2550, Sec. 77 that prohibits the gathering of species that are considered endangered. A fine of Php 120,000 awaits each of the violators while proper complaints are being readied against them.