PCG deploys 2 more boats in anti-poaching operations
MANILA, Philippines – Following a number of poaching incidents in Batanes, the Philippine Coast Guard is looking to further its efforts to stop foreign poachers by deploying two Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance (MCS) vessels in Philippine waters.
The MCS boats are meant to run after foreign poachers, as well as locals fishing illegally or poaching. “They would patrol the area up to the northern tip of Batanes,” PCG spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo explained.
The MCS boats are jointly operated by the PCG and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
Poachers face a fine of up to $1 million under Republic Act 10654 or the Philippine Fisheries Code.
The Coast Guard expects foreign poachers to come into the country's northern waters from April to June, a common poaching season. Hundreds of Illegal fishermen, namely locals as well as those of Taiwanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese origin, have been arrested, with their vessels seized by joint PCG-BFAR operations.
Balilo said, “Illegal fishermen should be arrested, according to the fisheries law." He was unable to give further details on whether or not poaching was increasing in Batanes.
The efforts to stop poaching have strained Philippine relations with its neighboring countries, such as Taiwan and China.
In 2013, a shootout between PCG personnel and Taiwanese fishermen in the Balintang Channel, off the coast of Batanes, killed a Taiwanese crew member.
In 2014, a Philippine court found 9 Chinese fishermen guilty of poaching and environmental crimes. They had fished in disputed waters. – Rappler.com