Breaking News, Indepht Analysis
LINGAYEN –Thirty one individual and corporate owners of 778 fish cages near the 1,200 megawatt power plant in Sual, Pangasinan have been ordered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to stop their operations.
A cease and desist order has been issued against the 31 fish cage operators whose structures were found outside the allowed 10-hectare mariculture zone in that town and without environment compliance certificates or ECCs from the environment department , Joel Salvador, region I director of the Environment Management Bureau told Governor Amado T. Espino in fax message sent today.
“To date, only eight of these operators have received their orders,” the environment official informed the governor.
A DENR lawyer, Joseph Estrella, was sent by the regional DENR office in San Fernando City, La Union to Sual the other day to serve the agency’s cease and desist order to the cage operators in Sual.
Salvador told the governor that together with the order to stop the illegal fish cages from continuing their business operations, they were also slapped P50,000 in fines for each fish cage.
During the meeting with fish cage owners, the DENR lawyer told them that his agency recognized the right of the municipality to pass an ordinance governing fish pen operations in its municipal waters.
But in their particular case, the operators violated a national law, which, in times of conflict with a local law, the national law prevails.
The lawyer further explained that when ordered to stop operating, the fish cage owners could neither feed nor harvest from those cages.
A list of the illegal fish cage operators indicated that the biggest among them was identified as Ocean Star Corporation which built 100 fish cages. The company was represented by a certain James Ty, a resident of the town of Sual.
Two companies, Sahara Corp and Super Mega Fish Corp., both based in Sual, were tied as second biggest illegal fish cage operators with 50 units each.
The third biggest operator was identified as DCDA Corp. with office address at Binmaley, Pangasinan with 43 units.
Others in the list had fish cages ranging in number from five to 35 units that added up to a total of 778 fish cages in three areas near the shoreline of Sual without environment compliance certificates.
The biggest concentration of fish cages were at the Cabalitian Bay near the Sual power station of Team Energy with a total of 412 units. The rest were found in barangays Pangascasan and Baquien.
The fish cage controversy surfaced the other week when the plant manager, Ruben Licerio, complained to the mayor, the governor and regulatory agency that the mushrooming fish cages close to the intake facilities of the plant’s cooling system may trigger off a fish kill that can clog the cooling system and disrupt plant operations.
Licerio cited two instances in the past when an army of jelly fish and bangus that escaped from the fish cages clogged its cooling system and resulted in plant shutdown and Luzonwide power blackouts. (PIO)