PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—About 200 tons of fossilized large clam shells valued at round P1.2 billion have been seized by authorities from 4 males who have been arrested in Palawan province within the greatest restoration up to now of the bivalves that are much-coveted for his or her ivory-like qualities.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) mentioned in a press release on Saturday that the 4—Rey Cuyos, 54; Rodolfo Rabesa, 48; Julius Molejoa, 47; and Erwin Miagao, 40—could be charged with violating Republic Act No. 9147, or the Wildlife Assets Conservation and Safety Act, and Republic Act No. 8850, or the Philippine Fisheries Code.
The lads have been arrested at Sitio Inexperienced Island within the coastal village of Tumarbong in Roxas city round midday on Friday, the PCG mentioned.
The suspects allegedly harvested the large clams from the waters across the cities of Taytay, El Nido, Roxas and neighboring island cities, in response to the PCG.
The enormous clams recovered in Roxas have been by far the biggest seizure made by authorities within the province who, together with conservation teams, had been in fixed battle with poachers and merchants who prey on protected marine and different land-based endangered species that also abound in Palawan.
Extra Palawan finds
Solely final Tuesday, native officers seized not less than 26 tons of deserted large clam shells, estimated at round P57 million from a coastal neighborhood within the southern Palawan city of Narra. The individuals who deserted the shells haven’t been recognized.
On Feb. 6, 90 items of deserted large clam shells have been additionally discovered at Barangay Sibaltan in El Nido city.
On Nov. 24, 2020, about 25,000 kilos of large clam shells price P25 million have been seized at Sitio Dandulit within the village of Buliluyan within the southern Palawan municipality of Bataraza.
Jovic Fabello, spokesperson for the Palawan Council for Sustainable Growth (PCSD), mentioned in a telephone interview on Saturday that they suspected that the poaching and buying and selling of large clams was being finished by an organized group.
Fabello mentioned authorities have been sizzling on the path of this group that has reportedly been providing a “nationwide redemption program” for fossilized large clam shells.
P2,000 per kilo
The PCSD is a authorities environmental company devoted to defending the pure sources of the island province.
Native fishermen declare that the large clam shells have been being offered for as much as P2,000 per kilo, sufficient enticement to hitch the unlawful commerce that entails consumers who smuggle the shells into China, Japan and Europe, Fabello mentioned.
“Because of the pandemic and poverty, information in regards to the unlawful commerce would have traveled like wildfire due to the excessive worth [that the shells fetch],” he mentioned.
“They are saying there’s a ship that picks up the large clams in Linapacan. A very large sea vessel, most likely a ship, that they use as a result of the ‘taklobo’ (large clam) is heavy,” Fabello mentioned.
Linapacan, which is a part of the Calamian Islands, is an island city in northeastern Palawan situated betwen El Nido and Coron.
With the worldwide unlawful ivory commerce now strictly monitored in sure African and Asian international locations, wildlife merchants have been believed to have turned to the fossilized large clam shells instead, in response to Fabello.
“They use these [shells] to carve [decorative items], others are become imitation pearls and, one group mentioned, they’re become powder as a result of it’s product of calcium carbonate and has medicinal worth,” he mentioned.
The waters of Palawan have a pure inhabitants of large clams, which may develop a shell as much as 1.4 meters lengthy.
The enormous clams got here near extinction within the Eighties on account of indiscriminate harvesting by locals for meals and shellcraft till strict legal guidelines have been enforced, resembling RA 9147, which was enacted in March 2001, to guard the species.
Teams just like the Malampaya Basis Inc. (MFI) launched over 600 juvenile large clams at a marine protected space of Cadlao Island, El Nido, in October final 12 months to spice up the inhabitants of the Tridacna gigas species that had been depleted by poachers.
MFI, by way of its String-of-Pearls program, has been restocking the large clam inhabitants in partnership with the Western Philippines College and the PCSD. INQ
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