Cuyo mayor Andrew Ong said the inclusion of his town in last year’s list of 10 illegal fishing hotspots in the Philippines reported by Oceana Philippines is “baseless”.
Along with Cuyo in the “Top 10 Illegal Fishing Hotspots in the Philippines” are Linapacan, Araceli, and Magsaysay municipalities.
“Kapag sinabi mo kasi na illegal fishing marami ‘yan kasama na dyan ang hulbot-hulbot. Commercial fishing vessel at superlight kasi ang naging basehan nila,” he said.
Ong pointed out that commercial fishing vessels in Cuyo are legal because they are covered by a municipal ordinance.
He said they have issued mayor’s permits for medium scale commercial purse-seine operating within 10.1 to 15 kilometers from the shoreline of the nearest island of operation in the municipality.
“Hindi man lang nila kami tinanong kung may ganyan ba talaga kaya kinausap namin sila ng mga ibang mayors kaya nag-apologize na. Walang illegal na pangingisda doon kasi kung commercial fishing vessel ang ginagamit nila may permit ‘yon,” Ong said.
Ong said that Oceanic Philippines used “super lights and commercial fishing vessels that appeared on their satellite as the basis.”
Also tagged as hotspots are Zamboanga City; Tongkil, Sulu; Hadji Muhammad Ajul, Basilan; Sta. Cruz, Marinduque; Languyan, Tawi-Tawi; and San Francisco, Quezon.
The Palawan provincial board is set to summon the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to their regular session to know more details.
Board Member David Francis Ponce de Leon said the agencies should formulate solutions to prevent or lessen the illegal fishing activity.
“May we call on them, so we can create legislation para mabawasan ang illegal fishing and other updates,” he said.