In May 2011, an amendment of a city ordinance was passed which established a new MPA in Calapan (Silonay Mangrove Marine Protected Area) and spelled out fines and penalties concerning illegal fishing activities. Under the ordinance, compressor fishers will be levied fines at the first and second offenses, and will face up to six months’ imprisonment at the third offense.
Mr. Cantos noted that they have been receiving reports of illegal compressor fishing over the past weeks. The usual targets of compressor fishers are fish intended for the aquarium trade, such as clownfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, and wrasse. He said that the apprehended fishers were likely just starting their operations and have not yet amassed a substantial amount of fishes.
Pacifico Beldia II, MPA specialist of Conservation International, said that while the aquarium fish trade can be a viable livelihood option for fisherfolks and a management intervention to reduce fishing pressure for food fishes, it should be non-destructive
regulated so it would not lead t
o overfishing and habitat loss.
Aside from the use of compressors, fishing for the aquarium trade is also usually associated with the illegal use of cyanide poison.