Image courtesy of 2nd SOU-MG

A resident of Narra town has been charged by maritime police authorities for violating the Philippine Fisheries Code by selling giant clam shells worth around P2.5 million.

2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG) operations officer P/Cpt. Dandy Ferriol Jr. identified the suspect in the illegal trading of giant clam shells as Markin Claud, a resident of Purok Bagong Lipunan, Barangay Teresa, Narra.

Ferriol said they arrested Claud on October 16 after their sting operation confirmed that he was the owner of the giant clam shells hidden in a secluded spot in the said barangay.

Claud was charged in the local court for violating Section 102 of RA 10654 for fishing or taking of rare, threatened, or endangered species.

“Nagkita muna siya at ang tropa na nagpanggap na buyer para maipakita ang sample. Nang makumpirma namin, kinabukasan doon na namin siya in-operate,” Ferriol told Palawan News in an interview.

Ferriol said that during the operation, Claud became skeptical about their undercover agent and tried to withdraw from the deal. However, it was “too late” for him.

“Natunugan niya, kaya medyo umatras siya. Pero kinuha na namin ang pagkakataon na yon dahil nandoon din ang target pati ang mga taklobo,” Ferriol added.

Catching and trading giant clams, locally known as taklobo, is illegal as it is an endangered marine species, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Offenders may be penalized with a fine equivalent to five times the value of the species or P500,000 to P5,000,000, whichever is higher, and forfeiture of the species.

Upon conviction by a court of law, the offender shall be punished by imprisonment of 12 years and one day to 20 years and a fine equivalent to twice the administrative fine.