Navy confiscates P1.7-M seashell shipment in Zamboanga

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DAVAO CITY — Personnel of the Philippine Navy in Zamboanga City on Saturday, August 31, intercepted a watercraft loaded thirteen (13) sacks of prohibited seashells worth P1.7 million at the vicinity of Baliwasan, Zamboanga City.

Rear Adm. Erick Kagaoan, Navforwem commander in a statement said, elements of under command was conducting maritime patrol when it chanced upon an unmarked Jungkong-type watercraft, which was newly moored at Wee Bin Pier, Baliwasan Seaside, Zamboanga City, loaded with prohibited seashells.

Upon investigation, it was found out that the said watercraft is registered as M/V Mardiawas was carrying seashells from Pangutaran, Sulu Province.

The confiscated seashells include : 1) Helmet Shells – 157 pcs; 2) Trumphet Shell – 4 pcs; 3) Frog Shell – 35 pcs; 4) Bonnet Shell – 10 pcs; 5) Spider Cooch – 4 pcs; 6) Gold Lip Shell – 44 pcs; 7) Murex – 3 pcs and 8) Smooth Top Shell – 238 pcs.

The confiscated seashells were immediately turned over to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Photo Courtesy: Naval Forces Western Mindanao

The unauthorized harvesting, sale, and transport of seashells are penalized under Section 102, Republic Act 10654 or the amended Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.

Kagaoan said M/V Mardia violated Section 102 of Republic Act 10654 or the amended Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 which states that “It shall be unlawful to fish, take, catch, gather, sell, purchase, possess, transport, export, forward or ship out aquatic species.”

The act is punishable with a fine equivalent to three (3) times the value of the species or Three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00) to Three million pesos (P3,000,000.00), whichever is higher, and forfeiture of the species. Furthermore, upon conviction by a court of law, the offender shall be punished by imprisonment of five (5) to eight (8) years and a fine equivalent to twice the administrative fine and forfeiture of the species.

The statement however failed to name the owner of the boat and the persons caught transporting the seashells.-Jiann A. Padillo

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