Reyes Orders Dismantling of Illegal Fishpens

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Byline: ELLALYN B. DE VERA

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Angelo Reyes yesterday ordered illegal fishpen operators in heavily polluted Laguna de Bay to voluntarily dismantle their fishpens before Aug. 31.

Reyes said fishpen operators who would not cooperate with the department will be charged criminally for continuously destroying the environment.

The DENR chief and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) ordered operators last May to protect the lake environment from being killed by pollution through overstocking and unsafe fish farming practices as cited under Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.

The DENR and the LLDA are strictly enforcing RA 8550, which penalizes the use of illegal fishing methods, and RA 4850, which specifically addresses environmental concerns at Laguna de Bay.

Reyes said the three-month grace period which the DENR and the LLDA have given them is almost over.

"If these illegal fishpen operators have some sense, they will now proceed to dismantle what remaining structures they have before the DENR and the LLDA budge in," he stressed. …