The Bantay Dagat of the IIoilo provincial government is keeping a tight watch amid the implementation of the closed season in the Visayan Sea, likewise, augmenting the efforts of coastal municipalities in their fight against illegal fishing.
“We are operating in the whole province, although we are now based in northern Iloilo. With the additional floating assets of two speedboats, we will step up our campaign against illegal fishing,” provincial administrator Raul Banias, whose office oversees the Bantay Dagat, said yesterday.
Banias said they are watching over portions of northern Iloilo included in the Visayan Sea as the closed season for sardines and mackerels is in full swing starting November 15 until February 15 next year.
He added they will also be running after dynamite fishers.
In addition to the two speedboats, Banias said the Bantay Dagat has traditional pump boats to be utilized during the operations.
“I would assure our coastal towns that we are ready to help in their campaign against illegal fishing. The speedboat can be deployed anywhere in the province where it is most needed,” he said.
Banias said the province’s big fishing industry is in northern Iloilo, including the coastal towns of Anilao, Banate and Barotac Viejo towards the town of Carles. The municipality of Estancia is traditionally called the Alaska of the Philippines.
He added that since some of the illegal fishers are also in the municipalities, the campaign of the provincial government on an integrated fishery management approach is not only on illegal fishing, but on conservation, restoration, education, and strengthening of marine protected areas. (PNA)