‘Hulbot-Hulbot’ fishers nabbed in Iloilo

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

A fishing boat from Bantayan Island, Cebu, engaged in illegal activities in the marine waters off Barangay Asluman in Carles, was apprehended by the Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force on June 10.

During routine seaborne patrol operations, the fishermen were caught aboard F/B RL engaging in Danish seine fishing, which violates Fisheries Administrative Order 246-1 Series of 2018 of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Under the administrative order, it is unlawful to operate municipal and commercial fishing boats using the Danish seine fishing method, locally known as “hulbot-hulbot,” in Philippine waters.

The Danish seine method is known for the destruction of marine habitats because its tom weights and heavily weighted scare lines scrape the seabed, destroying coral reefs, seagrass, and other fishery marine life habitats.

The task force apprehended the boat’s captain, Vincent Villaceran, along with his 19 crew members.

The operation led to the recovery of a Danish seine fishing net, its accessories, and 30 tubs of assorted fish, valued at around P45,000.

The seized fishing boat is currently in the custody of the provincial Bantay Dagat, while the fish catch was distributed to district hospitals.

Under the BFAR order, the owner, operator, and boat captain of the confiscated vessel will face an administrative fine equal to five times the value of the fish caught or P2 million.

Meanwhile, the crew members involved in the Danish seine operation will face fines of P20,000 each or community service if unable to pay the fine.

Upon conviction by a court of law, violators, including the boat captain, fisherfolk, and recruiter or organizer, face imprisonment ranging from two to ten years and a fine twice the amount of the administrative fine.