DENR-7 nabs illegal fishing boat, confiscates 19 dead threshers

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7 Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (DENR 7-TSPS) group in coordination with the Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force (CPAIFTF) apprehended a fishing boat loaded with thresher sharks in the waters of San Remigio, northern Cebu last September 21, 2016.

About 19 adult thresher sharks and two babies were confiscated from the trawling vessel F/B Sweet Angel registered under a certain Alma Arenas of Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.

Fishery Law Enforcement Officer Prospero S. Lendio of DENR 7-TSPS led the team in hot pursuit operation in the municipal waters. During the chase, the vessel’s engine overheated which led to their capture.

The vessel was impounded in Calatrava Police Station, Negros Occidental where the 13 crew members were detained.

“The act was committed inside our territory which falls part of TSPS. We will push through with the filing of the case against the crew, in addition to the criminal complaint filed against them by the Calatrava Police,” said CPAIFTF operations head Lyndon C. Ruiz.

The owner and crew violated Republic Act (RA) 9147 for killing and destroying a vulnerable species and RA 7586 for possessing these species without permission from the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).

Thresher sharks have been listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources as vulnerable species.

Ruiz warned all violators that CPAIFTF will be relentless in the drive against all illegal fishing activities.

Sharks fins are known to be an ingredient in a Chinese soup and the shark meat are made as extender for fishballs.

Thresher sharks, locally known as lawihan, are among the famous highlight for divers in Malaspascua Island in Northern Cebu.

Less than a week ago the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 7, Provincial Government, Greenpeace Philippines and other conservationists called for the protection of thresher sharks and their inclusion in the Appendix II of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). (Chad Bacolod)