The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported the seizure of crates containing around two tonnes of shark meat that was caught illegally in Zamboanga City on Friday, September 9.
The PCG and BFAR acted on intelligence that the passenger and cargo ship ‘Trisha Kerstin 2’ was transporting the shark meat from Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines’ southernmost province (just 20 kilometres from Sabah, Malaysia), to Zamboanga City some 300 kilometres away without the necessary documents.
Representatives from the two government agencies boarded the ‘Trisha Kerstin 2’ while she was docked at Zamboanga City on Friday.
The PCG and BFAR seized the vessel and the contraband on board when the master failed to present the required permits.
The two tonnes of shark tails and fins, said to be worth around five million pesos (US$105,400) and which included three “butanding” or whale shark tails, is now in government custody awaiting proper disposition.
Being an endangered species, whale sharks come under the protection of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, which also prohibits the capture, possession, sale, transport, and export of endangered marine animals.
If found guilty of transporting the said contraband, the violators could be made to pay a fine of five million pesos or be given a 20-year prison sentence.
Nelson E. Dela Cruz