Demolition of illegal fishing structures in Manila Bay starts September


The Manila Bay Inter-Agency Task Force (MBITF) is set to demolish illegal fishing structures along Noveleta, Kawit, Cavite City, and Bacoor City starting from September 7.

The demolition was an order from Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu in July when bamboo poles drifted from Cavite into the shore of Manila Bay after heavy monsoon rain.

Unlicensed structures to be demolished included fish pens, fish cages, stationary lift nets, fish corrals, and mussel farms. The Cavite Task Force Group for Manila Bay installed billboards to recommend owners of the structures to self-demolish before the demolition date.

MBITF cited the Supreme Court decision dated November 17, 2020 (G.R. Nos. 171947-48) as one of the rationales of the demolition. The court, while denying Akbayan’s motion to intervene in the environmental mandamus resolved in 2008, instructed government agencies to clean, rehabilitate, preserve, and restore the water quality of Manila Bay to the “SB” level, where it would be safe for bathing and other forms of contact recreational activities.

The demolition also complied with the Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 10 Section 87, which stated that it was illegal to build and manage unlicensed fish corrals, fish traps, fish pens, fish cages, and fish ponds.

According to DENR Calabarzon, Bacoor City has 351 mussel farm operators whose permits were on hold as per the mayor’s order. The operators had not paid their annual registration fee due to their issue with the proposed Bacoor reclamation projects.

Kawit has 23 unlicensed pond-type operators, while Cavite City has 26 unlicensed bamboo fish traps. No permit or fishing license has been issued to any fish pen, stationary lift net, or mussel farm operator in Noveleta. – Rappler.com

Jerome Sagcal is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.