Bill seeks higher penalties vs illegal live fish trade
Two brother-lawmakers are seeking higher penalties on illegal live fish trade in the country, claiming the practice has reached alarming levels.
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), with his brother Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, ABAMIN), filed House Bill 4231 prohibits live fish trade using cyanide, dynamite and other forms of illegal fishing techniques.
The bill also makes it unlawful to engage in live fish trade in order to trade or sell them in international and local markets.
Under the bill, violators face penalties of five to ten years imprisonment and a fine ranging from P500, 000 to P1, 000,000.
Rodriguez said at the rate the trade is going, critical coral reefs, particularly in the Palawan area, will soon be gone due to dynamite and cyanide fishing, threatening the sanctity of the endangered areas.
He said some fishermen use illegal fishing methods consumers are willing to pay large amounts of money on rare and fresh fish.
He said it is estimated that since the 1960s, more than a million kilograms of cyanide has been squirted into Philippine reefs as the live fish trade grows.