By LEILANI ADRIANO
BADOC, Ilocos Norte — Owing to a series of marine sea turtles caught by fishermen and later on released off the sea, fishery and environment officials here proposed the creation of a pawikan conservation area in this coastal town.
The Pawikan conservation area once declared in Badoc town through an ordinance would ensure the protection and safety of endangered marine sea turtles considered as endangered species due to small population noted due to illegal catching, butchering and egg collection practice of people in fishing villages. For some, they consider this as a delicacy.
On June 13, another female green sea turtle (Chylonia mydas) with carapace measuring 90-cm long and 80 cm wide, weighing 160 kilogram was accidentally seined at the shores of Barangay Saud, Badoc, Ilocos Norte.
The marine turtle was accidentally caught when local fishermen Antonio Cahag of Aring Badoc, Jimmy Ines of Saud and several companions were hauling their beach seine, said Arthur Valente, fishery regulation officer of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte.
Aware of existing environment and fishery laws that protect endangered marine turtles through attending a series of information drive and the media, the local fishermen in the neighboring coastal villages reported immediately to Kagawad Sherman Valdez, in his capacity as president of the SAPAR fishermen association and head of the Bantay Dagat.
Valdez then relayed the information to the village chairman Romeo Gamponia and at about 9:20 in the morning on Wednesday, representatives from the environment and natural resources office and the provincial fishery went where the marine sea turtle was caught.
After proper documentation and tagging, the marine turtle, was released back to the sea.
According to Valente, the latest release of the marine turtle is now the fifth done in Badoc since January 2012. He expressed his gratitude to the fishermen for their cooperation and the local officials backing the proposed creation of a conservation area.
In a related development, Badoc Vice Mayor Thomas Torralba gave incentive to Cahag who first rescued the turtle.
Under fishery and environmental laws and with FAO 208, the catching of endangered marine species is punishable by law of 12-20 years or a fine of P120,000 or both.
Moreover, the marine turtle is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites). # nordis.net