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Court hands 8 years imprisonment to blast fishers

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan – The Regional Trial Court in Aparri, this province, has issued a guilty verdict against four fishermen who were apprehended for use of explosives  way back 2015.

The fishermen, identified as Adrian Sabal, Michael Pagud, Edson Pagaduan and Vincent Kennedy Sabal all from Abulug, Cagayan were meted by Presiding Judge Conrado Tabaco,  with five to eight years imprisonment along with confiscation of their fishing banca, pursuant to provisions of Sec. 92 of RA 10654.

Their case stemmed from apprehension made by elements of the Philippine National Police – Maritime in Aparri and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

One of the apprehending officers, SPO1 Brainard Pagaduan testified that on the morning of April 18, 2015, they received a text message from concerned citizen who reported ongoing blast fishing activities within seawaters of Aparri.

Pagaduan, in his testimony, said that they immediately coordinated with the BFAR fishery law enforcers and proceeded to the place, using the BFAR patrol craft. Upon arrival, the police officer stated that they saw a group of fishermen who appeared to be on the process of retrieving their blasted fish.

Said fishermen, upon noticing presence of law enforcers, scampered, thus hot pursuit ensued.

Rodel Pasaraba, a Fish Examiner from BFAR RO2, certified that the confiscated fish, composed of round scad (galunggong) and sapsap, were caught using explosive.

BFAR RO2 Regional Director Dr. Nelson B. Bien lauded the strong collaboration between PNP Maritime and BFAR, including the civilian tipster, that led to this successful operation.

In related development, BFAR RO2 fishery law enforcers have apprehended 8 trawl (galadgad) operators aboard 4 fishing boats in Gonzaga, Cagayan, confiscated prohibited shells and corals and, rescued and released Hawksbill Turtle accidentally caught thru gill net both in Sta. Ana, Cagayan, since January this year. The law enforcers have also conducted inspection of commercial fishing vessels (CFV) to ensure compliance to regulations.

The BFAR RO2 Adjudication Committee, meanwhile, have settled 7 cases involving violations of Sec. 86 (Unauthorized Fishing) and Sec. 95 (Use of Active Gear in Municipal Waters) of RA 10654, thru payment of compromise fine.  (max prudencio BFAR RO2

Note: the RTC decision was issued last year, but BFAR RO2 got the copy only this year.