War brewing between the fishermen of Jagna and Garcia Hernandez

By Joe Espiritu

There could be war brewing between the fishermen of Jagna and Garcia Hernandez. If this is not stopped in time it might flare up into an open conflict. Strict implementation of a law or ordinance is good but since nothing is perfect, there must be allowances. Since there was none those who had been penalized would be looking for instances so they could retaliate. Some residents of Garcia established fish sanctuaries. They placed buoys around certain areas so fishermen would observe rules pertaining sanctuaries. A no disturbance rule inside the defined area is strictly imposed. Stiff penalties are imposed for violations. There are complaints for over enforcement of the rule. There is no room for consideration, violators claim. There was a fisherman from Jagna, out of ignorance or defiance, cast his long line locally called paranghe or palangre inside the sanctuary. He was apprehended and fined. Although the chap paid through his nose, he could do nothing since he was a violator. Then there was one who claimed, he set his lines outside the no fishing zone, he was also charged with the no disturbance violation and fined. There were fishermen cruising inside the zone and they were chased off. 

Penalties could be imposed on the first and last incidents, but the second one is clearly not a violation since the operation was already outside the zone. Then there was one who merely landed because he had drifted inside the area due to some boat trouble. He too was penalized. Then there was on whose engine had conked out outside the sanctuary. He was towed inside the zone and was penalized. If those stories were true, sanctuary wardens could be charged with piracy or kidnapping and illegal detention. However, those wrongly accused cannot afford to take their cases to court. Every day away from fishing would mean less food for their families. They would be looking for time and place to retaliate in one way or another. The sad part is that they take it out on the wrong persons. 

Jagna has her share of sanctuaries. Their wardens are also strict in enforcing the rules. There had been arguments but since the rules had been enforced within acceptable limits argument would not degenerate into violence. This means violators are aware of their transgressions. Perhaps it is just pride or plain stubbornness, which makes them argue back but it is only as far as that. There had been stories of Jagna fishermen shooing away Garcia boats away from Jagna waters. Those men were not the ones who had allegedly done them wrong but since they were not able to fight back, they take it out on the wrong fellow. Sadly, the sanctuary wardens do no go out to sea. When the winds will shift to southwest, Garcia fishermen will be blown towards Jagna. Hopefully the Jagna fishermen will learn to distinguish people. 

In other places, when boats are stranded because of engine trouble or boat malfunction, the sailor or fisherman is aided. Jagna fishermen say that if it happens in the sanctuary area, they are fined. No considerations given. If disturbing the waters of the sanctuary is strictly forbidden, warning signs must be placed all over the area. It is not fair to use the sanctuary as a trap for the unwary. The stories might not be true. Fishermen are used to aiding one another during trouble no matter where one comes from. They have a set of unwritten rules to follow. When something starts brewing, it must be settled at once otherwise it become more serious before we know it.