By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN CITY – Two farmers may languish in jail for five years after brutally spearing to death a spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), locally known as lumba-lumba in Victoria, Northern Samar.
The accused – Eddie Millano and Fernito Gumarao – both residents of Brgy. Zone 3 of said town, were recently found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating Section 102(b) of Republic Act (RA) 8550 as amended by RA 10654.
The said law prohibits fishing, taking, catching, gathering, selling, purchasing, possessing, transporting, exporting, forwarding, or shipping out aquatic species listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix II, where spinner dolphins are included.
Eyewitnesses also reported that an individual chopped the dolphin’s meat and brought it to his house in Sitio Karawisan of the same municipality.
The local government unit of Victoria, who initially responded to the incident, went to the house of the suspect to check and recover the carcass, but failed.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR 8) regional director Juan Albaladejo, said the judgment scores victory in BFAR’s intensified campaign on the protection of fisheries and marine resources in Eastern Visayas.
He added that the killing of rare, threatened, and endangered fishery species such as spinner dolphins is likewise a violation of Fisheries Administrative Order No. 208.
Violators will be facing imprisonment from 12-20 years or a fine of P120,000 or both.