Dynamite fishing in Siargao remains rampant

DAPA, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/19 April)—The marine environment in Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands continues to suffer from rampant illegal dynamite fishing activities in the area.

At dusk yesterday, a group of fishermen bearing dynamites ventured out to the sea off Barangay Union, apparently sensing that authorities would not conduct sea patrol in observance of Good Friday, several villagers who requested anonymity said.

Senior Supt. Edgard Cuanan, Philippine National Police- Region 13 Maritime Group director, admitted that their office cannot eradicate dynamite fishing in these areas.

“We have five provinces and we cannot even focus in one area like Siargao because we lack manpower, resources and equipment. It’s not easy to stop this activity,” he told MindaNews.

Nobey Ipes, a worker at the regional Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic and Resources (BFAR), also confirmed that dynamite fishing is rampant in Siargao.

Siargao, including Bucas Grande, has nine municipalities.

Last week, Stephanie Chua, a surfer from General Luna town, went to Barangay G1 in Dapa municipality along with a friend for surfing.

An explosion, at least six meters away from them, stunned her.

“My friend and I were surfing in G1 last Wednesday morning. The surf was good, no crowd. We were just out there enjoying the ocean. Until two small boats just approximately six meters away from where we were threw a dynamite,” Chua posted in her Facebook account.

Last month, 22 whale sharks were killed due to dynamite fishing in Barangay G1, several locals here claimed.

General Luna Mayor Jaime Rusillon said the fishermen used dynamite at what they thought was a school of tuna.

But the municipal police station in Dapa did not confirm the report that the 22 whale sharks were killed through dynamite fishing.

The police acknowledged, however, that two draft sperm whales beached and died in Barangay 12.

Ipes, the BFAR worker, said the agency could not say if the two whales died due to dynamite fishing.

Dapa Mayor Yulie Ruaya declined to issue a statement on the reported rampant dynamite fishing activity in her town when reached for comment. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)