A sea turtle or “pawikan” was found in the waters of Brgy. Lipata, Padre Burgos, Quezon, after it was accidentally caught in the net of a fisherman last Monday night, September 11.
According to Virgilio De la Cruz, 48 years old from Brgy. Punta of the said town, the sea turtle got caught in his net, which was spread out in the waters, while he was fishing for crabs. De la Cruz quickly took it out and cared for it, contacting Padre Burgos Mayor, Roger “Jigs” Panganiban, the morning after.
Mayor Panganiban then coordinated with his Municipal Agriculture Officer SenenTameses and the PG-ENRO to help with the conduct the appropriate action and for documentation. Some people from the Provincial Veterinary Office also came to lend a hand.
The sea turtle was found out to be of the Hawk’s Bill variety, weighing around 25-30 kilograms and measuring around 23 inches wide and 26 inches long. Unfortunately, the sea turtle died before the people from the Municipal and Provincial Government were able to arrive. According to Tameses, De la Cruz said it was already weak and couldn’t crawl on the sand properly the night it was found. She also added that it was common occurrence for sea turtles to be washed off shore or accidentally caught in the area. Sometimes they are able to tag turtles for three consecutive days, but the residents are informed that it is an endangered species and that it is strictly against the law to catch, harm, or keep it, so the people release it after right away.
According to Section 97 of the Fisheries Law, or Republic Act 8550, it is strictly against the law to catch or take rare, threatened, or endangered species. Anyone who is found to be a violator of this law would be sentenced to 12-20 years in prison and pay a bail amounting to 120,000 pesos. The caught animal would also be confiscated and the license or fishing permit of the boat of the violator would be revoked. (QUEZON PIO)