Illegal liba-liba fishing rampant in Siargao town

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/20 June) – Liba-liba fishing has reportedly been proliferating in the capital town of Dapa in Siargao Island, a councilor of the municipality revealed.

The councilor, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, revealed to MindaNews that unabated liba-liba boats operating in Barangay Corregidor have been destroying hundreds of hectares of coral reefs.

Internationally known as “Danish Seine,” liba-liba is a form of fishing that destroys coral reefs. It uses a set of fishing gear consisting of a conical net with a pair of wings the end of which are connected to a rope embedded with buri, plastic strips, sinkers or similar materials to serve as herding device and hauled through a mechanical winch or by manpower.

The councilor said and some of his constituents have been monitoring illegal fishing activity since last year. “There are 20 liba-liba fishing boats operating at the area every day,” he said.

Corregidor is reach in marine life, which include a known dive spot.

The councilor said the fishermen using the liba-liba boats, which are from Cantilan town, catch more than 20 boxes of fish every day.

He added there is an existing fishery law, the same is toothless due to lack of law enforcers.

He said they will explore other options that would make up for the lack of law enforcers.

Senior Supt. Verlito G. Paredes, former chief of the police’s Regional Maritime Office, said they cannot easily run after these violators because their office has no mobility budget, aside from the fact that it is undermanned.

He said he does not want to gamble the lives of his men, noting that the fishermen have firearms.

Paredes was just replaced by Senior Supt. Elmer D. Doyo. MindaNews failed to contact Doyo for his side of the story.

Johann Jake B. Miranda, a dive master from this city, said corals reefs in Siargao have been damaged. “The corals there are much more damaged compared to what we have here in Surigao City because of illegal methods of fishing,” he said. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)