pnp_maritime_groupCALBAYOG CITY, Samar, April 5 (PNA) – The maritime police based in this city is stepping up its sea patrol to enforce the four-month commercial fishing ban in Samar Sea.

Sr. Insp. Glenn Amoyen, 802nd Maritime Police station chief, said the ban on commercial fishing in municipal waters of Samar Sea starting April 1 is mandated by law.

“We have to make sure that commercial fishers are compliant to the ban since we are active partners of local governments in advocacy against illegal acts,” Amoyen said on Wednesday.

The Samar Sea Alliance, with the support of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, implemented the total commercial fishing ban to increase catch of small fishermen.

“We need to enforce the total ban not next year but now because of the depleting resources of Samar Sea and we have to act on this for our future generation,” said Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino, chairperson of Samar Sea alliance.

The Calbayog City local government donated last month two motorboats to the maritime police station.

The maritime police official recalled that in the past years, they just rented motorboats to conduct sea patrol operations.

“But our lack in logistics never hindered us to perform our duties particularly on the campaign against illegal fishing,” Amoyen added.

In 2016, the station apprehended 200 violators of city or municipal fishery ordinances.

“With this newly acquired motorboat, we can conduct seaborne patrol operations anytime. We will no longer wait for permission from the owner of the motorboat that we usually rent,” he said.

The Samar Sea is a small sea situated between Bicol region and Eastern Visayas. It is bordered by the islands of Samar to the east, Leyte to the south, Masbate to the west, and Luzon to the north.

It covers the coastal waters of Almagro, Tagapul-an, Sto. Niño, Gandara, Sta. Margarita, Tarangnan, Daram, Pagsangjan and Zumarraga in Samar province.

According to a 1993 study conducted by Jurgen Saeger, a German fisheries development specialist, the Samar Sea has experienced a significant degradation of marine resources.

Before 1981, there were 50 commercial fish species, but in 10 years, the figure was reduced to only 10 due to overfishing and illegal activities.

The expert found that the deforestation of surrounding lands has led to increased silt from denuded mountains that choke coral reefs. Only some five percent of reefs are considered to be in a healthy condition.

Another result of the increased silt is the red tide bloom, which first occurred in Samar Sea in 1983. Since then, the phenomenon has continued to occur in Samar Sea at irregular intervals.

The fishing ban was supposed to be enforced early last year, but it did not push through due to the election season.(PNA) Jennifer Sumagang-Allegado