Jail time for fisherfolk behind wounded dolphins

BY VENUS MAY H. SARMIENTO
DAGUPAN CITY – A fisheries official said those behind the wounding of dolphins in Pangasinan waters could face imprisonment for violating the law that protects endangered species.
Dr. Westly Rosario, interim executive director of the National Integrated and Fisheries Development Center (NIFTDC) of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said the wounds on rescued dolphins were large and could have caused by fishing spears used by commercial fishermen.
“Maaring nakaabala (ang mga dolphins) sa mga commercial fishermen na may malalaking banca kaya pinagsisibat, pero ang kataka-taka ay marami at kalat-kalat yung mga dolphins (The dolphins might have caused distraction to commercial fishermen in big boats which prompted them to spear the mammals. What’s puzzling is the big number and these are scattered in various shores),” Rosario told media men.
Reports that reached Rosario said some village fishermen took one of the five wounded dolphins in Aringay, La Union and another one was taken in Lingayen town.
Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 makes fishing or taking of rare, threatened or endangered species unlawful.
The law imposes jail time of 12 to 20 years and/or a fine of P120,000 plus forfeiture of the catch and the cancellation of fishing permit.
Of the 17 wounded dolphins that beached in La Union and Pangasinan shores, four have died (including the dolphin which died in Sual town) on Tuesday morning.
A bottlenose dolphin is a relatively robust dolphin with a usually short and stubby beak, hence the name ‘bottlenose.’ It is perhaps the most well-known cetacean, because of its widespread use in marine parks and research facilities, the NIFTDC said. (MCA/VHS/PIA-Pangasinan)

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