TUGUEGARAO CITY – Ten Chinese fishermen who were apprehended for poaching in May this year, have paid a compromise fine amounting to P9.093 million, thereby settling their administrative cases filed before the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The amount paid is unprecedented in the history of poaching in Region 2 and marks the first time that provisions of the recently enacted Republic Act 10654, which amended RA 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, have been put to use.
The Chinese were aboard their fishing vessel M/V Lady Luck 020, when they were apprehended by elements of the BFAR and Philippine Coast Guard manning the BFAR patrol vessels MCS 3010 and MCS 3007.
The Chinese were apprehended last May 25 in the vicinity of Babuyan Claro in the Calayan Group of Islands, this province. They were identified as Liang A. Gui, Su Jia Ying, Zhang Ceng Fu, Wang Sheng Li, Shun Ji Ting, Zhuo Dao Jie, Wang Jia Yuan, Zhao Lian Zhau, Ye Xiao Jian, & Xie Yong Feng.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) RO2 Regional Director Dr. Milagros Morales, expressed her appreciation on this development and said that the hefty fine shall serve as deterrent to other poachers.
BFAR director Atty. Asis G. Perez, in his Order dated June 20, 2016, based his decision to accept the respondents’ offer for compromise on DA Administrative Order 10 Rule 131.2 allowing administrative settlement on violations of the Fisheries Code, and on EO 292 (Administrative Code of the Philippines) particularly on the provision which directs government agencies to employ, if possible, amicable settlement in order to expedite administrative proceedings and avoid expensive litigation.
The amount collected was remitted to the National Treasury. The amount paid includes the penalties imposed for violation of other provisions of the Fisheries Code, specifically Sec. 96 (Ban on Coral Exploitation) and Sec. 97 (Ban on Muro-ami, Other Methods and Gear Destructive to Coral Reefs and other Marine Habitat).
In their apprehension report, Rommel Diciano, Fishery Law Enforcer of BFAR RO2, stated that the Chinese vessel tried to mislead authorities by flying a Philippine flag, and with “Subic” painted on its astern side. The crew failed to provide any document that would justify their presence in Philippine waters, Diciano said.
BFAR RO2 FMRED Chief Atty. Samuel Agaloos said that with the dismissal of the administrative case, the Chinese vessel will be released, pending clearance from other concerned agencies.
In another fishery law enforcement related development, the Bureau and PCG confiscated last week five buli-buli (modified Danish seine) fishing gears from local commercial fishing boats plying municipal waters of Gonzaga and Buguey towns, this province. Confiscation would compel the owners to convert to other legally-allowed types of fishing gears, Agaloos said.
BFAR RO2 fishery law enforcers also confiscated last Monday four boxes of aquarium fish, which were without transport papers.