The Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force (CPAIFTF) apprehended an Isuzu Elf that was carrying bags of shark meat.
CPAIFTF Team Leader Loy Anthony Madrigal said the vehicle was flagged down along the national highway in Naga City at 10:30 p.m. last June 11. The shipment came from Siaton, Negros Oriental, based on their travel documents.
After checking the cargo, Madrigal’s team found a quarter size body of a shark, bags of shark meat, and 48 boxes of Barla fish. The fins of the sharks were already missing.
The boxes of fish were transported to the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center while the shark meat will be buried.
Gary Cases, a collaborator in the Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project, identified the meat as thresher sharks. He said the bags of shark meat are comprised of 10 sharks.
Thresher sharks are frequent visitors in the waters of Cebu’s two famous dive spots: Malapascua Island in Daanbantayan and Moalboal.
The Provincial Government passed an ordinance that banned the catching and trading of thresher sharks.
Fishing and trading of sharks are prohibited by Republic Act 8550 or the “Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.”
Truck driver Alan Empinado, 45, who is from Banilad, Cebu City and his two helpers Gerry Atillo, 24, and Daniel Amistoso, 61, both from Lapu-Lapu City, were already detained in Naga City.
Meanwhile, new Police Regional Office 7 Director Chief Superintendent Prudencio Bañac warned those who are engaged in the trading of shark meat.
He said he is supportive of the province’s eco-tourism initiative, especially its intensified drive against illegal fishing.
Bañac was in the Capitol to celebrate the Philippine Independence Day. He and the Capitol officials led by Cebu Governor Hilario P. Davide III, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and the Provincial board members inspected the seized cargo at the Capitol grounds.