By Tara Yap
Iloilo City–The Iloilo provincial government is pushing for stronger law enforcement in protecting the Visayan Sea from illegal fishers.
“We will not waver to effectively and efficiently enforce fishery laws and ordinances to preserve and rehabilitate the Visayan Sea,” said Iloilo Provincial Administrator Raul Banias.
The move to strengthen law enforcement came after last week’s incident involving an Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force (Bantay Dagat) team which tried to arrest an illegal fishing boat in Negros Occidental.
The boat captain died while five other illegal fishers were injured. Bantay Dagat members were also wounded including two policemen.
To avoid similar situation, Banias said Bantay Dagat will have stronger coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Group, Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) and the Philippine Coast Guard.
An enforcement summit is being planned next month for communities surrounding the Visayan Sea to address the declining fish catch in the country’s third largest fishing ground.
Candeze Mongaya of Oceana Philippines said the summit will be attended by governors, mayors and representatives of government agencies in Iloilo, Capiz, Negros Occidental, Cebu, and Masbate.