The Zamboanga del Norte Operatives of DA-BFAR 9 Enforcement and Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Operation Center (ERMCSOC) and the Local Police of Dapitan City apprehended two commercial fishing boats fishing within the municipal waters, in violation of the Amended Philippine Fisheries Code on August 23, 2023, while on board Multi-Mission Patrol Boat (MMPB) 3023 seaborne patrol operation, the joint team, first spotted an unmarked small-scale commercial fishing vessel engaged in actual fishing operation in the city waters of Dapitan, located, specifically, 1.7 nautical miles southeast off Brgy. Baylimango, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte. During the process of boarding and inspections, another ring net fishing boat was seen nearby, also conducting the fishing operation. The unmarked vessel was found to be in contravention of Section 86 of RA 10654 or the Amended Fisheries Code for Unauthorized Fishing. Likewise, it was charged with violations of Section 95, which pertains to the Use of Active Gear in the Municipal Waters, Bays, and other Fishery Management Areas.

Furthermore, charges were levied under Section 113 for the employment of unlicensed fishermen, and under Section 122 for altering, concealing, or tampering with vessel markings, identity, or registration. On the other hand, the second boat, which was discovered to have employed a crew of nine individuals lacking valid license IDs and one individual with an expired ID, also faced administrative charges under Section 113. Subsequently, the fishing boats were escorted and brought to the Dapitan City Taguilon Port for proper inventory of the items including catch on board and issuance of a notice of violation served to both the boat captains and the owners. Complaints were filed before the Regional Adjudication Committee for appropriate sanctions.

The DA-BFAR 9’s steadfast dedication to upholding the Philippine Fisheries Code is essential for maintaining marine resources and local fishermen’s means of subsistence. Assuring sustainable and lawful practices in the fishing business, the agency is diligent in protecting the nation’s seas from illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities. Concerned persons are encouraged to contact the DA-BFAR ERMCSOC Hotline at CP No. 0939-936-6832 for any infractions of fishery laws.