15 illegal fishermen surrender in Surigao Norte after police campaign ala ‘Tokhang’

CLAVER, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews / 3 Aug) – Inspired by “Oplan Tokhang,” the police here conducted “Oplan Panagat” in the coastal villages, resulting in the surrender of 15 fishermen suspected to be engaged in illegal fishing activities.

Chief Insp. Rommel Cacayan, chief of the Claver Municipal Police Office, said the fishermen voluntarily surrendered to the police after getting warning.

He said most of these fishermen come from Barangay Lapinigan, an island village of this mineral-rich town.

“Their method of fishing is illegal and unsustainable. These must be stopped. If not, at least minimized,” he said.

Cacayan said most of these fishermen engage in dynamite fishing and catching marine life using cyanide.

He admitted that the town has no PNP-Maritime unit, in charge of guarding the seas.

Cacayan said he aims to have at least 50 illegal fishermen to submit themselves to the police within the year.

The police official said Claver Mayor Eddie Gokiangkee is glad on the police effort to guard the seas, saying the local government unit of Claver is willing to facilitate finding jobs for the fishermen.

“Aside from the LGU, we are also trying to negotiate the mining companies in this town to hire the fishermen so they won’t go back to their illegal activities,” he said. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)