15 boats seized in Siargao for fishing in marine sanctuary

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island (MindaNews/26 January) — Fifteen boats suspected of being used in illegal fishing activities in this town have been seized since November last year, an official said.

Mayor Jaime P. Rusillon told MindaNews on Sunday that these boats were found fishing within the town’s 560-hectare marine sanctuary.

The marine sanctuary covers the area from the poblacion to Barangay Malinao.

“Nasayod na sila sa ato ordinansa, sigi pa gihapon pangisda diha. Karon tagam sila,” (They already knew that we have a local ordinance, and yet some of them still go fishing in the area. Now they have learned their lesson) Rusillon said.

He said the sanctuary will become the future tourism site of the town.

“If there are more fish, there will be activities such as snorkeling, diving, sports spear fishing, among others,” he said.

Prudencio Meras III, one of the many local fishermen said the sanctuary has 24/7 security with a watch tower.

He said that after the sanctuary was set up late last year fish population has increased in the area.

“Some fishermen are tempted to go inside the sanctuary since this area has never been disturbed for several months,” he said.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource-Caraga identified the area as the largest breeding ground of fish in the town.

Rusillon said aside from strengthening the protection of the marine sanctuary, they are also placing artificial reefs.

He added he wanted to restore the area’s rich marine flora and fauna.

Wilfredo Nohara, 73, a retired fisherman of Barangay Union in Dapa town recalled that when he was still in his 20s this area was full of corals and fish.

Dapa is a town adjacent to General Luna.

“I could see sharks, dolphins, and there were even different colors of corals. It was beautiful,” he said.

He said the use of dynamite and other illegal methods of fishing ruined the rich marine resources. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)