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Philippines Authorities: Ten Vietnamese Fishermen 'Caught in the Act' of Shark Finning off Palawan

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CALAMBA CITY, The Philippines -- Personnel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) arrested 10 Vietnamese fishermen who were caught poaching within the Philippine waters off an island in Balabac, Palawan, aboard a large fishing vessel over the weekend.

Malcolm Sarmiento, BFAR director, said the Vietnamese poachers were on board a 200-ton fishing vessel when they were chanced upon by the BFAR personnel aboard patrol boat MCS 3002 while fishing off Mangsee Island at around 6 a.m. on Saturday.

“The BFAR patrol boat was on a mission. Our personnel were on a routine inspection when they saw the large Vietnamese boat poaching in the area. The Vietnamese fishermen were really caught in the act,” Sarmiento said in a mobile phone interview.

Together with elements of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Sarmiento said the BFAR personnel immediately told the foreign poachers to stop what they were doing and boarded their fishing vessel for inspection.

During inspection, the BFAR and PCG team were “surprised” to discover several slaughtered sharks and manta rays inside several boxes, Sarmiento said.

“The sharks and the manta rays were already cut into pieces. The poachers were apparently after the shark fins,” he said.

He said the Vietnamese poachers were using “long line” fishing gears, which proved that they were after sharks, tuna, manta rays and other large pelagic sea animals.

Sarmiento said they had yet to account for the actual number of slaughtered sea animals as they had yet to finish the inspection of the boat.

He said the Vietnamese poachers immediately underwent medical check up and were brought to a jail shortly after they arrived in Puerto Princesa at around 11 a.m. Sunday.

Their boat, on the other hand, is now docked at the Puerto Princesa port under the custody of BFAR. He said the foreign fishermen had been charged with illegal poaching in Philippine waters.

Soup and other food preparations made from shark fins command high price in restaurants and are famous among Chinese. These are among the reasons why fishermen from China and other Asian countries hunt for sharks all over the Pacific Ocean.

Environmentalists said the number of sharks in the seas had dwindled through the years and was at an alarming stage because of poaching.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

4 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

The Vessel should be siezed, cleaned, and sunken as a reef project. The poachers should be publicly executed to serve as an example for future poachers.
   comment# 1   - Attila Von Stryker · St. Louis U.S.A. · Apr 1, 2007 @ 9:44pm

Let's hope that the PI govt continue to stop, check, confiscate and fine all SE Asian fishermen who continue this practise. I would like to see the boats confiscated and sold and the money used to spread awareness to the public who continue to consume shark fin. Once the buying stops the killing will too.
   comment# 2   - Nereus · Taiwan · Apr 2, 2007 @ 7:17am

The trouble is they have fished out their own waters completely so are forced to venture further a field to "fin" for sharks. The rarer sharks become the higher the price for shark fin soup, in turn this will make the dish appear more elitist and push demand and price up still further. This will in turn temp fisherman to catch sharks at all costs, whether thats 5000 miles from home or in marine parks under the cover of darkness. By all means punish these guys but the real war will only be won when the demand is switched off. I beg everybody reading this to NEVER eat shark fin soup or eat in resturants serving it. Education is the key here and remember extinct is forever !
   comment# 3   - Paul · Reading FC, UK · Apr 3, 2007 @ 12:37pm

Since energy usage has become the equivalent of harlotry, murder & adultery, energy users are being threatened with the lake of fire by Adam, Eve & the Lord Jesus Christ. GOD IS NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL MIGHT BELIEVE ON HIS NAME-JESUS. Repent & be baptized! Jesus said, I am God there is none besides me." "I am the Way, the Truth & the Life. No man comes to the Father except by me." "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." "As many as received Him to them He gave the power to become the sons of God the Father even to those who believe on His name." Jesus' healing ministry began with adult baptism. Jesus says, In this world you shall have trouble, but I have overcome the world. Jesus says, If we confess our sins He is faithful & just to forgive us our sins & to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
   comment# 4   - ALLISON KARALUS · GLEN ELLYN, IL USA · Dec 6, 2011 @ 9:51am
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