The group condemns the relentless poaching and destruction of mangroves in Quezon

Threatened The remaining mangrove forests in Lucena City, which are home to diverse wildlife and plants, are threatened because some residents and businessmen use them for fish ponds and charcoal production. —Danny Ordoez/Contributor

LUCENA CITY – A group of environmental advocates has once again sounded the alarm over the unrestrained operations of commercial and illegal fishermen in the seas off Quezon province that continue to pose a threat to the marine environment and livelihood of residents in the region.

In an interview on Sunday, Tanggol Kalikasan (TK) project officer Jay Lim said illegal fishing in Quezon waters continues amid efforts by authorities to stop it.

The latest incident occurred on September 9 when the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Southern Tagalog, along with teams from the Philippine Navy, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Fisheries Protection and Law Enforcement, arrested 31 crew members from two ships. Fishing vessels were seized off the coast of Thebes, loaded with fish worth a total of about 100 million pounds.

Commodore Jeronimo Tovilla, Commander of the PCG’s Southern Tagalog Region, said their joint teams took care of the FV Princess Bernice Carmina, which had a crew of 15 on board, and the FV Lady Yasmin, along with its 16-member crew.

Lim claimed that more illegal commercial fishing vessels are operating with impunity not only in Tayabas Bay but also in Lamon Bay in the southern part of the province, while dynamite fishing activities have also been the subject of complaints from local fish wardens.

Illegal fishing activities were also reported almost every day by the Quezon Police.

The suffering of fish keepers

The resource-rich Lamon Bay facing the Pacific Ocean covers towns in the southern part of Quezon, while Tayabas Bay includes the northeastern towns of Quezon, Marinduque Island Province, and parts of Batangas.

Lim said about 100 fish wardens from Quezon’s coastal municipalities along Tayabas Bay who participated in the TK workshop last month decried rampant illegal fishing, mangrove deforestation and sand mining as among many other threats to the province’s marine environment.

Lim said fish wardens particularly cited dynamite fishing which has continued unabated in the two bays despite the danger it poses to the perpetrators, citing an incident on August 23 when two brothers were injured in a dynamite explosion while fishing in the Polelo group of islands in Lamon Bay.

Mangrove forests, also known as the “rainforest of the sea,” are an important part of the marine ecosystem, as tree roots provide shelter for marine life while their fallen leaves become fodder for fish and other marine animals.

Mangrove logging is prohibited under Presidential Decree No. 705, or the Forest Code of the Philippines, and Republic Act No. 8550, also known as the Philippine Fisheries Code. inquiry

Read: Order to amend railway project to spare mangroves in Subic

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