DAGUPAN CITY – The city government here, through the Task Force Bantay Ilog, has started the demolition of illegal fish pens and cages in three barangays that have violated the city’s fishery code.

In a statement on Monday, officer-in-charge city agriculturist Patrick Dizon said there are seven illegal and oversized fish pens and cages in barangays Bonuan Gueset, Pugaro-Suit and Salapingao.

“This after the owners and operators were given notice of violation and demolition on November 11,” he said.

Dizon said the task force was accompanied by the City Agriculture Office, City Disaster Risk and Reduction and Management Office, the local Philippine National Police and members of the Philippine Coast Guard.

“Most of the fish pens and cages were already abandoned and do not contain milkfish fingerlings,” he added.

Task Force Bantay Ilog leader Abel Abueme said owners and operators of the illegal or oversized fish pens and cages have signed a waiver allowing them to dismantle the structures.

Other owners were also given notice of violation as the demolition will continue in the coming days.

Earlier, Liga ng mga Barangay president Marcelino Fernandez said the call to demolish structures that are not in accordance with the fishery ordinance was a result of a meeting of barangay captains of coastal villages.

Fernandez said the allowed size of fish pens and cages in the river system is about 70 square meters while the allowed locations are indicated in the ordinance.

“Some are too big for the allowed size while others are in the way of the navigational lane,” he said.

Violators were given the chance to remove their illegal structures before the demolition.

The city government is also partnering with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for the water quality testing of the city’s river system. (PNA)