Samar town residents face raps for killing dolphin
TACLOBAN CITY — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will file cases against those behind the brutal killing of a spinner dolphin in Victoria, Northern Samar last week.
BFAR-Eastern Visayas Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said the Fisheries Protection and Law Enforcement Group (FPLEG) initially identified two residents of Victoria town as suspects in the cruelty towards the marine mammal.
“Presently, the BFAR Region 8 legal section and FPLEG are on the process of preparing a complaint affidavit against the suspected perpetrators based on the allegations and pieces of evidence gathered by the investigating team,” Albaladejo told the Philippine News Agency in a phone interview Thursday.
A stranded marine mammal, identified as a spinner dolphin, was mercilessly speared using a bamboo pole in Bangon River by two residents of Victoria town on April 5. When local authorities proceeded to the site, they were not able to see the spinner dolphin in Bangon River.
Some residents speculated that the dolphin could have swam away while some alleged witnesses told authorities that someone chopped the dolphin’s meat.
BFAR said authorities did not find any carcass of the dolphin.
“Threats being faced by our marine mammals are now alarming more than ever. The recent brutality against an initially identified spinner dolphin in Victoria, Northern Samar is just one among the numerous cases of the perilous situations that these mammals face in the hands of perpetrators such as those seen on the video footage,” Albaladejo said.
“Although the carcass was not found, local authorities recovered a fin. What they did as shown in the video footage was meant to slaughter the dolphin. The footage can be presented to the court as evidence,” he added.
BFAR said the suspects violated Republic Act 10654, which is “An Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, Amending Republic Act 8550, otherwise known as “The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998,” and for other purposes”.
The law states that fishing or taking of rare, threatened or endangered species will be penalized with a fine equivalent to three times the value of the species or PHP300,000 to PHP3,000,000. If found guilty by a court, the offender will also be punished by imprisonment of five to eight years and a fine.
The spinner dolphin falls under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.
The killing of rare, threatened, and endangered fishery species such as spinner dolphins is also a violation of Fisheries Administrative Order 208
“BFAR is doing its best that this gruesome act will not go unpunished and serve as a lesson to all of those who are and who will be continually harming and endangering our marine biodiversity most especially these marine mammals,” Albaladejo said.
BFAR asked the public to directly report such illegal activities to local government units, policemen, and fishery officers in their area for immediate punishment of violators and stern enforcement of fishery laws. (PNA)