The Philippine Coast Guard intercepted 15.250 kilos of dried seahorses worth P460,000 at the Banago Port in Bacolod City at about 11:30 a.m. Friday morning, March 26, Capt. Ludovico Librilla, PCG Negros Occidental commander, said.
The shipment was bound for Iloilo City and was already aboard the M/V FastCat M3 when they intercepted the package containing the dried seahorses, he said.
Librilla said a member of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group informed them that he received a report of a shipment of illegal fishery products.
They then searched packages on the vessel and a saw box with two seahorses protruding, he said. We then coordinated with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to inspect the content of the box, he said.
The seahorses were wrapped in garbage bags and plastic bags that were labeled with their prices, Librilla added.
The confiscated items have been turnover to the custody of the BFAR, he said.
Their initial investigation showed that the package was delivered by an unidentified individual who paid for it to be sent to Iloilo City, he said.
Under the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 transporting, taking, and selling of rare, threatened and endangered fishery products is prohibited, he said.
Violators could face a fine of P300,000 to P5 million or a three to five-year prison sentence if found guilty, Librilla said.
An investigation is underway to determine the origin of the seahorses and sender of the package, he added.*