New footage of local fishermen blast-fishing the reef in the Playgrounds area of the Mentawai Islands surfaced yesterday.
It was filmed by a frustrated visitor who has been watching three boats blast the reefs 3-5 times a day for the past month. The goal is to raise attention to this issue and to encourage sustainable fishing practices in the area.
Blast fishing is not new in Indonesia (or the region) as it has been well documented for decades. It’s a widespread technique used by fishermen from Sumatra to Komodo, however it only seems to happen in the Mentawais during the offseason when there are less surf charter boats in the vicinity. Following is a video from December 2010.
With Indonesia’s vast oceans and stretched fisheries law enforcement this destructive form of fishing will continue to demolish the hard coral reefs which take decades to regenerate. It’s up to the fish buyers / exporters to reject fish that show signs of blast damage (bloody eyes, bumpy and mushy meat) to deter fishermen from using this method, as threats of fines have not have any impact.
Consumers should be aware that the reef fish which are most often caught with explosives are snapper, rabbitfish, and grouper. Download the WWF Indonesia seafood guide pdf HERE
To read an interesting study and some background history on blast fishing in Sulawesi please download THIS PDF
[excerpt] … Today most fishers use homemade bombs manufactured using glass or plastic bottles filled with a 3:1 mixture of agricultural fertilizer and kerosene. Stones are added to make it sink faster, and a waterproof wick is pierced through the piece of plastic that closes the bottle… For the small-scale fishers the bomb components cost roughly US$1 per bomb.