PCG, BOC intercept P3.6-M worth of endangered seahorses PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 August 2018 13:50

BY BHONG SIMBAJON

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)  Zamboanga Station and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have apprehended more than P3-million worth of seahorse species at the Zamboanga seaport last Wednesday afternoon.

PCG Zamboanga Station chief Lieutenant Commander Noriel Ramos said that prior to the apprehension, his command received reliable information that a container van from Oceanic is reportedly carrying an undetermined amount of banned aquatic products bound for Manila.

Acting on the said report, Lt. Cmdr. Ramos immediately alerted his personnel and established a checkpoint at the main entrance of the PPA wharf along RT Lim Boulevard in coordonation with Bureau of Customs(BOC), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and subsequently intercepted the said container van.

Bureau of Customs District Collector Atty. Lyceo Martinez said that the Oceanic Container 20 footer van bearing the number 215862-8 20 carried fifteen (15) bales of seahorses carefully wrapped in plastic which were placed among other cargo.

Authorities contacted the alleged owner, Ramon Sayson, who denied knowledge about the presence of the contraband inside the container van.

Martinez immediately ordered the Maritime Police to place Sayson under custodial investigation for purposes of getting information about the illegal cargo.

The catch and sale of seahorses, considered as an endangered species, is prohibited under Philippine laws and is punishable with fine and imprisonment.

The Philippines is a known center of seahorse diversity, with at least nine species in its  national seas but conservation concerns arose from earlier surveys of fishers which indicated that seahorse catches had declined about 70% from 1985-1995, Martinez said.  (Bhong Simbajon and Ely Dumaboc)