A team from the Philippine Navy, Naval Forces Central, Philippine Coast Guard Cebu Station and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources intercepted the Batil Jocevel Joy – 4 at around 11 pm on Wednesday, July 8, in Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City.
The apprehending team believes the cargo consisting of shells are prohibited as they appear to look like samong (trochus niloticus). Initial information indicate the Batils came from Tubbataha.
The topshell Trochus niloticus is a highly valuable reef invertebrate that flourishes in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP), Palawan, Philippines. At present, it is heavily poached inside the park premises,..read on
The International Herald Tribune reported
“…the rangers confiscated 132 sacks of the topshell Trochus niloticus, locally known as samong, worth one million Philippine pesos ($20,000). Taking samong or any other endangered species is punishable by 12 to 20 years in prison and/or a 120,000 peso fine, but poachers risk it, according to the Philippine daily Business Mirror, because dealers buy topshells for about 150 pesos a kilo, reselling them at 400 pesos a kilo.”
There is a big market for Samong, it is a commodity in the Fashion Accessories.
The Fisheries Administrative Order No. 208, Series of 2001 listed Trochus niloticus as THREATENED, and Section 2 of the said order state “Prohibition. – It shall be unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, to take or catch or cause to be taken or caught the following fishery/aquatic species.”