TAGBILARAN CITY – Mayor Esther F. Tabigue of Mabini town has denied report that there was an intrusion of commercial fishing into municipal water even as she also denied her office having received a petition letter from fishermen. In an exclusive interview yesterday at Bohol Tropics Resort, where she attended the Coastal Law Enforcement Council (CLEC) general assembly she attended, Tabigue said that she was aware that sometime last year there were commercial fishing boats landed in her town.
But she was quick to argue that they (commercial fishing) did not fish inside the municipal water but unloaded some cargoes since the fishing boats needed to be berthed for repairs.
It will be recalled that a total 181 of fishermen and fisherfolk, 51 of them from barangay San Isidro, have urged Mayor Esther Fostanes Tabigue of this marine-rich western town to put a stop to commercial fishing’s violations and intrusion into the municipal waters that allegedly depleted their meager catch.
“Sakit palandungon kay ang Santisima Trinidad, Elson, San Pedro nga barko ug uban pa, sila taga Loay, Tagbilaran City ug Danao City, Cebu, sila ang naghurot sa atong mga isda,” the petitioners said in their one-page letter dated October 27, 2014 address to the mayor. (It is sad to note that commercial fishing vessels have harvested fishes in our seawater that left no more fish for the locals.)
They said that these fishing vessels have violated the National Fisheries Act (RA 8550), particularly sections 90 and 93 of providing for “users municipal waters” and “illegal use of super lights,” respectively.
“Atoa nang hunongon ang illegal fishing likom alang sa kaayohan sa katawhan ug sa kaugmaon sa mga kabataan,” the letter concluded. (Let’s stop the illegal fishing called “likom” for future generations.) The fishermen affixed their signatures to their letter to the mayor.
Police here have raised serious concern over “the presence of commercial fishing vessels also contributed negative effects to our municipality” since they “abuse our marine resources” when they intruded in coastal areas of the town, minutes of the previous MPC meeting showed.
Vice-Mayor Juanito Jayoma confirmed this in an interview. The vice-mayor presided over the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) meeting in lieu of the mayor (Tabigue) who is said to be abroad.
The vice-mayor said that this serious concern of commercial fishing intrusion has been discussed during the said meeting.
Jayoma said that he received information that one of the fishing vessels ran aground with fish catch cargo at one of the town’s marine protected area (MPA). He said they (officials) tried to hold the said fishing vessel stuck at said MPA for investigation but the police reportedly released it a day after allegedly without informing them.
Alleged illegal fishing incidents have been recorded in the MPOC minutes dated October 8, 2014. One of such was on October 5, 2014 when an abandoned illegal fishing net called “Triple Net” was recovered within the sea vicinity of barangay Marcelo by the sea squadron.
Others are the following: two illegal fishing nets known as “Baling” in barangay Minol; five (5) suspects were nabbed for violation of municipal fishing ordinance No. 2010-06, prohibiting the use of compressors or “boso” in barangay Tambo; and fishing net (Triple net) was recovered of barangay Minol, the said minutes showed.
Law enforcers have recommended for the strengthening of MPAs protection efforts and review of berthing management of commercial fishing. (rvo)