Endangered devil ray seized in Miagao Public Market

THE carcass of the giant devil ray seized from the public market of Miagao, Iloilo on April 3, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Carl Dexter Nonaillada of Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE Miagao Bantay Dagat Task Force confiscated an 80-kilo devil ray or giant devil ray (Mobula mobular) Wednesday morning at the Miagao Public Market.

 According to Carl Dexter Nonaillada of Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force, the devil ray is an endangered species.

“Although may specific rays nga pwedemay ara endangered species. Ang devil ray is endangered species na siya, bawal gid siya kuhaon,” he stressed.

The lifeless devil ray measured 235 centimeters (width) x 140 cm. (length) and was missing its tail, according to Nonaillada.

Nonaillada said no one was arrested as they could not identify the owner or the source of the fish.

“Ang alleged nakakuha ang nag-deliver sa tinda pero wala kami kabalo kun diin ginkuha ang lambat that is why no apprehensions because wala may nag-ako,” he said.

Fisheries Administrative Order 193 bans the catching, selling, purchasing, transporting and exporting of whale sharks and manta rays.

Section 102 of Republic Act 8550 (Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998) as amended by R.A. 10654 states that it is unlawful to take, catch, gather, sell, purchase, possess, transport, export, or ship out aquatic species listed in the Convention of the International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) or those categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

The offender can be penalized up to P5 million with imprisonment of 12 years and one day to 20 years.

Following the confiscation, Nonaillada assured that they will continue their strict implementation of the fisheries ordinances in the municipality of Miagao.

He also appealed to fisherfolks to be responsible with their catch.

“Sige sigehun naton ang pag-operate kag strikto kami sa implementation sang ordinances sa Miagao. Kung gusto nila mangisda and mangabuhi ensaktogawad sila permit and kung magkuha sila isda, be responsible kung bawal ukon indi,” he stressed.

The carcass of the devil ray was turned over to Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) in Tigbauan, Iloilo for preservation.

In an interview, Miagao Mayor Macario Napulan also encouraged fishermen to avoid the practice of illegal fishing especially in the municipal waters of Miagao.

“Ang akon panugyan especially sa mga mangingisda nga commercial fishers, avoid niyo na ang illegal fishing activities, kay ga-monitor ang Philippine Coastguard kag Bantay Dagat so tanan nga madakop nila nga gapractice illegal fishing wala gid na pasensiya,” he said.