Illegal fishers in Tagum City warned

The city government has organized a team that will arrest persons who catch fish using banned fine-mesh nets like push nets, lift nets, gill nets, seines, pots and bamboo traps.

Uy said using these would catch juvenile mud crabs and freshwater shrimp fry.

He cited that the law prohibits the use of the fine mesh nets smaller that the standard three centimeters fixed by the Department of Agriculture.

Orlando Linon, the city’s supervisory agriculturist, said the city’s fisheries operation team apprehended a total of 190 illegal fishers in Barangays Busaon, Liboganon, Bingcungan and Madaum within a period of two months.

Linon told reporters that the violators were given a seminar on fishery laws and livelihood instead of being charged in court. He, however, warned that they would not hesitate to file charges if they continued to violate the law.

Under the Philippine Fishery Code of 1998 violators face a fine of P2,000 to 20,000 or imprisonment from six months to two year or both at the discretion of the court.

The city government earlier dispersed thousands of mud crab juveniles and shrimp fry in Tagum River and mangrove areas.  

Mud crabs, also known as mangrove crabs, usually live in muddy bottoms in brackish waters along the shoreline, mangrove areas, river mouths, estuaries and shallow bays, the agriculturist said.

Linon said mud crabs are caught in wire mesh pots or bamboo traps baited with fish scraps or meat and set in the bottom of mangrove areas and rivers.

Meanwhile, Forester Michel Tradio, farm supervisor at the city environment and natural resources office, said they have already planted 24,123 mangrove trees in 2.4 hectares along the river banks in four barangays since the project started in June 2006.

Mayor Uy said mangrove trees serve as spawning grounds for marine organisms, breathing organ of the sea and buffer zone of environmental resources.

He added that the rehabilitation project for Tagum River is still ongoing by replanting mangroves along its banks. (Alden C. Pantaleon, Jr./MindaNews)