The Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force (CPAIFTF) found more endangered seashells and corals in a follow-up operation of a car mall in Barangay San Roque last July 18.
With the help of a marine biologist, CPAITFT recovered seashells, such as Green Snails (Turbo Marmoratus), which are not protected by national law but prohibited by provincial ordinance. .
The seized protected seashells also include Horse Hoof Clam (Hippopus hippopus), Fluted/Scaly Giant Clam (Tridacna Squamosa), and Smooth Top Shells (Trochus Niloticus).
The task force also recovered five sacks of Seafan (Gorgonia). This type of sea corals would take 150 years to grow, said CPAIFTF Team Leader Loy Anthony Madrigal.
Madrigal, who also served as Capitol’s security chief, said they went back to the area to identify all the seashells contained in 200 sacks.
The hauling of the species is prohibited under Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, Fisheries Administrative Order 208, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the Cebu Provincial Ordinance 2012-05 or the “Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ordinance of Cebu.”
Madrigal said, “I will get the entire inventory and submit a report to the Provincial Legal Office. We are aiming at filing a case against them.”
A day earlier, the task force raided the abandoned car mall located at the South Road Properties (SRP) after noticing protected seashells inside the establishment in “plain view.”
The task force initially recovered Helmet Shells and Giant Clams in the raid.
Eugene Sumampong, the lawyer of the car mall’s owner, went to the establishment hours after the incident.
Sumampong denied his client is engaged in the illegal trade of endangered species. Though he said that the business has long been abandoned and for the time being the facility is used as a warehouse.
He also stated that they will question the legitimacy of the operation because Madrigal’s team has no search warrant.
But Madrigal said there is no need for search warrant because the law considers the objects as subject for seizure under the plain view doctrine.