Board member Albert Rama called on the PNP Maritime Group, Bantay Palawan, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to investigate reports that large fishing vessels are already entering the 15-kilometer municipal waters of Aborlan and Narra.
Previously, the provincial board said that law enforcement agencies should look into reports of an “alarming” increase in the perpetration of illegal fishing activities in the two towns.
Due to rampant illegal fishing, the town of Aborlan is considered a priority area of the 2nd Special Operation Unit-Maritime Group in Palawan.
Maritime spokesperson P/Lt. Dandy Ferriol said that they have received a number of reports that are subject for validation, but even other law enforcement agencies were able to apprehend illegal fishing the town waters
“Ang Aborlan ay isa sa mga tinututukan namin ngayon. Actually, hindi lang maritime ang nakakahuli doon kasama na ibang law enforcement agency. Madalas din kami nakaka-tanggap ng report pero subject for validation kasi baka trap pero madalas tayo makatanggap,” he said.
However, Ferriol said that they are having difficulties in their operations due to the small allocation of fuel for their water assets.
“Medyo mahirap lang kasi may mga malalayo ang mga stations natin, hindi practical sa fuel. Kung dito naman galing sa amin [headquarters sa Puerto Princesa City] ay kumakain din ng maraming fuel ang asset na pwedeng gamitin. Maraming allocation ng fuel ngayong buwan kaya nagkaroon ng intensified maritime law enforcement operation. Sa Quezon may mga huli rin tayo pero mahirap kasi nga di katig lang ‘yong mayron tayo doon,” he added.
Board member Rama said these illegal fishing activities are aggravating price increases of fish and other marine products affecting local consumers.
The situation is now “alarming” if it will remain unchecked by environmental and law enforcement authorities, he said.
“Ang dami na nating natatanggap na reklamo na talamak ang illegal fishing sa Aborlan. Ang taas ng presyo kasi wala na halos mahuli kaya apektado ang mga maliliit na mangingisda dahil kailangan ng lumayo. Kung lalayo sila kailangan din ng konsumo,” Rama said.
Rama said there is a need to address the problem not only for the consumers but also to protect the marine resources within the town’s municipal waters.
On Wednesday, a total of P1.5 million items were confiscated from three apprehended commercial fishing vessels near Sombrero Island in Aborlan.