According to reports reaching the mayor’s office during the weekend, the illicit trade is now starting to become lucrative in the area.
Several sources from shoreline communities have stated that the meat of the dolphin locally known as lumod sells for at least 100 pesos a kilo
Reacting to the reports, Mayor Josephine Alcantara-Cruz immediately gave out instructions to the local police and other concerned departments to launch an initial query into the matter.
Cruz explicitly stated that she will not tolerate such activities considering the fact that her municipality is also at the forefront of natural conservation campaigns because of the presence of the whale sharks or butanding. As a matter of fact, she said, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) maintains a monitoring station in the area.
The mayor warned would-be dealers of dolphin meat that the local government would exert all efforts to seek punishment for those liable.
About a month ago, a local fisherman was already penalized for catching dolphins and selling their meat.
Meanwhile, a source at the Donsol Municipal Police Station said that if ever there are indeed locals who are involved, they are doing a good job of concealing their operations.
Meanwhile, fisherman groups have also blamed the continued operation of big-time commercial fishers in municipal waters for the decline of the supply of regular fish.
Some residents, they say, have no choice but to turn to other “means of livelihood” to support their hungry families.
Aside from dolphins, there is also a ban on catching manta rays, sea cows and most especially whale sharks.
If found guilty, perpetrators will face fines and a jail sentence.
The local office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) had yet to issue a statement regarding the reports, as of press time. by Joey B. Garalde