Fishermen probed for catching ocean sunfish in protected area

ocean sunfish
OCEAN SUNFISH. The dead ocean sunfish caught by the three fishermen from Negros Occidental at the Tañon Strait on March 1. Photo by Edgardo Rostata

The ocean sunfish is considered a ‘vulnerable’ or ‘threatened’ species

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines (Mar. 4, 2017) — Three fishermen are under investigation for catching an ocean sunfish in Tañon Strait, the biggest protected marine area in the country.

Locally known as “mola-mola,” the ocean sunfish got trapped in the fishing net of the fishermen from Barangay Vito, Sagay City, on Wednesday, March 1.

The ocean sunfish is considered a “vulnerable” or “threatened species.”

Edgardo Rostata, chief of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Cadiz City, said the fish was still alive when it was found. The sunfish, however, died later after the fishermen rushed it ashore. Rostata added they had to cut its fins to free it from the net.

He said it took 5 men to carry the fish from the boat. The fish weighed at least 200 kilograms and was 1.5 meters long and 0.75 meters wide.

He added the possible causes of its death were “prolonged surface exposure during the travel, stress and sustained wounds from cutting of its fins.”

The fish was buried near the port.

Rostata said the fishermen are now being investigated for possible violation of the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act and Republic Act 8550 or the the Philippine Fisheries Code.

Ocean sunfish are known as the heaviest bony fish in the world. They are native to tropical and temperate waters around the world.

  by Marchel P. Espina |