TACLOBAN CITY — A joint team from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) apprehended two medium-scale commercial fishing vessels operating within the Leyte Gulf for using an illegal fishing method.
The operation against the two commercial fishing vessels, which were allegedly using the illegal “hulbot-hulbot” or the Modified Danish Seine method, were done as part of the campaign to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities in Eastern Visayas.
The apprehension of the fishing boats happened after a three-hour hot pursuit operation to apprehend the perpetrators, who did not heed to their directions despite several instructions using the public address system and warning shots.
The vessels later ran aground in the shoreline of Barangay Tanghas, Tolosa, Leyte and were immediately abandoned by its crews, leaving the boats’ main engines on and not properly anchored or moored.
Pursuing operatives and members of the Tolosa Municipal Police Station looked for the said crews but were unable to locate their whereabouts.
The fishing vessels and other paraphernalia on board were secured and guarded at Barangay Tanghas Tolosa Leyte and eventually towed to Tacloban City for impounding.
Operatives confiscated 56 tubs of fish from the fishing boats and these were donated to the SOS Children’s Village in Diit, Tacloban City.
The operator of the fishing boats will face multiple charges for violation of the Philippine Fisheries Code including unauthorized fishing, use of fine mesh net, use of active gear on municipal water, employing unlicensed fisherfolk, and obstruction to fishery law enforcement officers.
Using the modified Danish Seine fishing method is only allowed in waters beyond 15 kilometers from the shoreline of any municipality provided that it shall not use tom weights and any method or accessories that destroys coral reefs, seagrass beds and other fishery marine habitats, and that the minimum mesh size of the net shall not be less than three centimeters.