Legarda Condemns Poaching of Sea Turtles; Enjoins LGUs, Citizens to Help Protect Marine Resources

Senator Loren Legarda today condemned the recent attack against marine species in the Philippine seas and called for strengthened vigilance to protect the country’s marine resources.

Legarda cited reports that Philippine Navy personnel, upon receiving information from concerned residents, apprehended at least 20 Vietnamese fishermen who caught some 20 live sea turtles off the coast of Balabac town in Palawan last April 12.

“This is another alarming incident that threatens our marine biodiversity. We need to be more vigilant to successfully intercept such illegal activities and prevent massive destruction of our marine resources,” Legarda stressed.

“I laud the residents for promptly reporting the incident which allowed our Navy personnel to immediately act on the situation. Meanwhile, I enjoin our local government units (LGUs) to be at the forefront in the crusade for the protection of the country’s marine resources,” she said.

The Senator recalled the disturbing report last year about poaching activities that ravaged approximately 7,000 hectares of sea bed within the Moro Gulf and the Sulu Sea.

The damaged marine life area measured about twice the size of Manila and poachers harvested more than 21,000 pieces of black coral and killed hundreds of marine species, including 161 endangered turtles, with a market value of about P35 million pesos.

“We need to strictly and effectively implement our laws particularly The Fisheries Code of the Philippines, but equally essential is the cooperation and coordination between authorities and citizens, which will form a strong part of our defense against degradation, poaching, and other illegal activities that threaten our marine resources,” Legarda concluded.***