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Taiwanese “Tuna & Dolphin Poachers” Apprehended By Philippine Navy

Barely a week after foreigners fishing off Sta. Ana town boat were apprehended, Philippine authorities seized a Taiwanese vessel off Babuyan Island on the Calayan Group of Islands.

Bernardo Apigo, team leader of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)  patrol boat MCS 3005, said they were patrolling the waters north of Luzon on May 15 when they spotted through radar the presence of an unidentified seacraft.

Upon establishing visual contact with the vessel, Apigo said they noticed that its crewmembers were busy hauling their tuna longline fishing gear.

Apigo said that upon verification, the crew of the foreign vessel, named Ching Hong Cherng CT4-2006, failed to present any document authorizing them to fish within Philippine waters.

The foreign vessel was manned by Taiwanese Lin Ming Shen (boat captain), Chern Wen Her, Lin Ming Yueh; Chinese crew Li Pen Khon, Li Pen Que and Li Kho Kon; and Filipinos Felix Sesaldo and Lucrisio Cobilla.

Earlier, the Tz Fu Tien BJ 4771, another Taiwanese fishing vessel, was apprehended by elements of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the BFAR onboard MCS 3001, within the municipal waters east of Sta. Ana.

Crewmembers of both vessels are now facing criminal complaint before the assistant provincial prosecutor’s office in Aparri, Cagayan, for illegal fishing and poaching in violation of Sections 86 and 87 of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 (Republic Act 8550).

The Tz Fu Tien was manned by Taiwanese Horng Shenq Fwu (boat captain) and Lii Jyi Long, and their Indonesian crew  Susanto, Saidin, Riyanto, Sutikno, Iswanto, Mohamad Hidayat, Ari Hermanto, Tahyanur, Hasanudin and Hadi Warno.

The vessels are currently anchored at Port Irene in Sta. Ana, where crewmembers are detained under custody of the BFAR and the PCG while waiting further development in their case.

Assorted fish, mostly yellowfin tuna, definned sharks and dolphins, were found in both vessels.

“Just like this latest vessel, the Tz Fu Tien was also caught in flagrante delicto, or in-the-act,” BFAR regional director in Cagayan Valley Jovita Ayson said, adding that the fisheries agency will also file separate administrative charges against both vessels.

Three BFAR patrol boats are currently in Cagayan Valley for antipoaching operations upon orders from BFAR national director Malcolm Sarmiento Jr.