Law enforcement authorities in Palawan detained and charged five people on Saturday for unauthorized collection and possession in Brooke’s Point of a significant number of sacks of dried seahorses, shark fins, and about a hundred live Humpback wrasses, or mameng.
Jovic Fabello spokesperson of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) said 13 sacks of dried seahorses and 40 sacks of dried shark fins were recovered from suspected wildlife act violators Reymark Villanueva, Ryan Jacolbe, and Ronel Gargoles at around 1:09 a.m. on April 23 in Barangay Oring-Oring, Brooke’s Point town.
Fabello said Villanueva is a resident of Brgy. Culasian Dumaran, while Jacolbe is from Brgy. Candawaga, Rizal municipality, and Gargoles is from Brgy. Irawan in Puerto Princesa City.
Eleven sacks of dried shark fins and the estimated 100 pieces of live mameng, on the other hand, were confiscated from Carlito Taquilid and Edward Torrecampo, both residents of Dumaran, around 9:11 a.m. in Brgy. Calasaguen, also in Brooke’s Point.
He said said three of the five suspects from whom they were seized had already been subjected to judicial investigation for violation of Section 27(f) of RA No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
“Medyo matagal-tagal namin silang na-surveillance, hindi lang yan bulagaan. Talagang may surveillance dyan kasama yong mga partners natin. Actually, noong last week pa dapat yan, kaya lang umulan ng umulan,” he said.
“Maraming buyers ang mameng, kasi nga open na yong closed season natin sa live fish, pero hindi siya kasama dapat dahil banned species siya. Bawal manghuli ng mameng,” he said.
Fabello said the usual market for mameng is Hongkong and China. The fish species also has a local market in the Philippines and the consumers are mostly Chinese.
Mameng is listed as an “endangered” species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and included in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II.
He said all the suspects are now in the custody of proper authorities, and that they are also probing the fact that three of them are actually from Dumaran and not from any of the towns in southern Palawan.
“Yong 3 from Oring-Oring, na-inquest na at nasa custody ng PCSDS. Yong 2 from Calasaguen, kasalukuyan pang nasa biyahe pa-Puerto for inquest,” he told Palawan News on Saturday