CEBU CITY – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Central Visayas (Region 7) apprehended a commercial fishing boat operator with eight crew members from Victorias City, Negros Occidental for encroaching in the municipal waters off Madridejos, Bantayan Island, Cebu last Jan. 17.
Josefina Flores, head of the BFAR-7 Fisheries Management, Regulatory, and Enforcement Division (FMRED), said commercial fishing operators are barred from fishing in municipal waters based on Republic Act 10654 or An Act to Prevent, Deter, Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing which amended Republic Act 8550 or The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
Flores said that BFAR 7 had warned commercial fishing boat operators not to encroach on municipal waters lest they face consequences for violating the fishery laws.
The operator’s fish catch, which weighed about 40 kilograms, was confiscated and turned over to the Madridejos Police Station for proper disposal while the fishing boat is now under the custody of BFAR 7 Fishery Resource Protection Group (FRPG) personnel.
The operator was charged with administrative and criminal cases for violating RA 10654, Flores said.
Flores explained that municipal fishers can venture in the seawaters 15 kilometers from the shoreline while commercial fishers are permitted 15 kilometers and beyond and not within the municipal waters.
BFAR 7 Regional Director Dr. Allan Poquita said they continue to enforce fishery laws amid the prevailing health crisis with a team from the bureau’s FPRG and Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Group personnel.