SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – The Antique maritime police on Wednesday filed a case of illegal fishing against a boat captain and 17 crew members caught using the illegal and destructive Danish seine fishing gear or locally known as "hulbot-hulbot" in the municipal waters of Patnongon on Aug. 26.
Antique maritime police chief Lt. Jose Leonio Lisbo said the criminal case for violation of Republic Act 10654 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 was filed before the Antique Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.
An administrative case for violation of Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 246-1 that bans the use of seine fishing in the Philippine waters will be filed with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Office 6 on Thursday.
He said that the fishing vessel (F/V) St. Francis came from Bantayan, Cebu, and was first spotted by concerned citizens on the shores of Patnongon the first week of August.
“We were able to apprehend the boat captain and his crew upon the information we received from concerned citizens,” he said.
Boat owner Victoria Ducay was not included in the criminal case but only in the administrative case because she was not on board the vessel when the operation happened.
The owner also alleged that she did not know that the boat captain and his crew already operated in the municipal waters of Patnongon.
In a separate interview, Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) chief Nicolasito Calawag said that the Danish seine is prohibited because it destroys the coral reefs and seabed communities using weighted nets that are dragged along the ocean floor.
“The municipal water of Patnongon is known as a rich fishing ground for mackerel. We need to protect the coral reefs and seabed communities that serve as habitat for the fish,” Calawag said.
The boat captain and crew members are now back in Bantayan, Cebu and will be served with a court subpoena after the filing of charges, Calawag added. (PNA)