7 nabbed for smuggling assorted aquarium fish


7 nabbed for smuggling assorted aquarium fish



CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga — Seven fishermen were arrested for smuggling marine protected species from Capones Island in San Antonio, Zambales, police said on Tuesday.

Senior Superintendent Christopher Mateo, Officer-In-Charge of Zambales police provincial office, said San Antonio police and naval personnel at the Naval Intelligence Security Unit-15, NISG Northern Luzon arrested the seven fishermen, including a 16-year old boy.

The arrested were identified as Manuel Balasabas, 52, who was the boat captain; and Rene Mencede, 43; Joel Vasquez, 30; Junrie Tambal, 30; Elbert Pastrana, 37; Oscar Baldomero, 30; and the teenager whose name was withheld, Mateo said.

He said they were arrested while fishing at the shoreline in Capones Island, in Barangay Pundakit, San Antonio town.

Balasbas, Vasquez, Tambal, Pastrana and Baldomero are all residents of Sitio Nagyantok, Barangay Cawag while Mencede and the boy are both from Barangay Matain, all in Subic, Zambales.

Mateo said the search team who inspected the banca used by the suspects found two oxygen tanks, one compressor tank, one compressor machine, several meters of compressor hose, fine fish nets, ropes, hundreds of assorted tropical aquarium fish inside clear plastic bags and empty plastic bags.

Based on police reports, the naval and police personnel were dispatched to the declared fish sanctuary after municipal agriculture officer Lolita Abayan and assistant municipal agriculture officer Demosthenes De Jesus sought police assistance to check the rampant illegal fishing inside the marine protected area.

The police and naval personnel were dispatched at the said place “approximately 10 nautical miles from the shoreline of said barangay where the suspects were caught while fishing,” the report said. (Ric Sapnu)