Fishing with dynamite usually happens over coral reefs and schools of fish, which leads to the shattering of the corals and destruction of biodiversity hotspots for decades to come. Dynamite thrown into the water doesn’t only kill fish but every microorganism living underneath it.
Fishing with dynamite is illegal because it’s highly dangerous and destructive for marine life. Dynamite and other types of explosives send shock-waves through the water, which leads to stunning or killing fish species and corals. Moreover, dynamite may prematurely explode that causes severe injuries and deaths.
Unfortunately, even with this truth, fishing with dynamite still happens in over 40 countries worldwide. Blast fishing destroys the habitat of marine creatures indiscriminately while reducing the future catches for the next generations. As a result, it affects food security and the livelihoods of fishing communities.
What Is Dynamite Fishing?
In certain parts of the world, dynamite fishing, otherwise known as blast fishing, is illegal, but amid government crackdowns, it is difficult for the authorities to contain this activity. Blast fishing isn’t a new process. European armies also brought it to many nations. It was prevalent for troops to use grenades to catch a fast meal during World War I.
Dynamite fishing is popular in the Coral Triangle of Southeast Asia. As mining activity in the country has made dynamite more readily available, Tanzania has seen a revival of the practice.
The Hazardous Effects Of Illegal Fishing
Fishing with dynamite shatters delicate colonies of coral. A crater two to three feet in diameter can blast even the tiniest piece of dynamite. The explosion destroys coral tissues, and nearby coral colonies are hindered from recovery by the debris. It’s unlikely for the coral to recover if repeated blasts decimate the deeper portion of the reef.
Fishing with dynamite produces a wave of devastation. Many bomb anglers don’t realize that the fish will go until the reefs are gone, too. About 55 percent of the world’s reefs are estimated to be endangered by overfishing and destructive fishing.
Not only does it endanger coral reefs, but it also leads to a reduction in fish stocks, affects coastal communities and small-scale fisheries that are struggling to compete with commercial trawlers, and has a detrimental effect on the tourism industry. Coral reefs form an essential part of the ecosystem of the ocean. The death of the world’s coral due to the atmosphere is a global disaster, and dynamite fishing adds to the terror.
10 Illegal Types Of Fishing
Aside from dynamite fishing, there are other illegal types of fishing to keep in mind. These are the activities that contravene the fisheries regulations and laws. To protect marine life and the future of angling, whether as a sport, hobby, or work, let’s all be aware of other illegal fishing activities that are still happening across the world.
One of the most harmful fishing techniques is Bottom Trawling. It is an agricultural process that uses massive nets weighted down with thick ballast that anglers push down on the sea bed, capturing and squashing everything from fish to aquatic plants that are on the way. A lot of species are caught unintentionally, along with others at risk of extinction, and then returned to the sea, usually dead. These collateral damages, also known as discards, can be up to 80% or 90%.
Furthermore, during the process, large parts of the seafloor, the regions where fish live and search for food, are compressed. The large nets used for bottom trawling have a large mouth that leaves scars that can even be 4 kilometers long on the seafloor. In certain situations, the damage to the environment as a result of the process can be permanent. Bottom trawling often stirs up sediments that may be toxic, often producing murky water that makes it difficult for aquatic organisms to live.
In addition, this fishing method removes the natural characteristics of the ecosystem where plants and fish usually live, relax, and even hide against their predators. Extraordinary biodiversity consists of the floor of water bodies, and this is what interferes with bottom trawling. For example, researchers have discovered many marine areas in the last two decades that are deeper than 400 to 2000 meters, with hundreds to thousands of creatures.
High Seas Industrial Vessels often use this fishing technique that are commonly operating in protected waters. People have been criticizing bottom trawling for primarily contributing to overfishing. As a result, several governments banned this fishing technique in various marine areas for fishing.
In the course of capturing other fish, bycatch means inadvertently catching various forms of aquatic life. It may also consist of the incorrect size of the intended fish, other animals that are not in demand, or not suitable for consumption. Moreover, it can also include almost extinct species like specific birds, marine mammals, and turtles.
The vast volume of bycatch, amounting to millions of tons each year, is dumped back into the bodies of water, either damaged or dead. The fisher may throw back the caught fish species on other occasions for reasons. It can be because the fishing boat has no license to carry out that fish or lacks adequate space. Sometimes the captain may change his or her mind about catching some specific fish.
An up-to-date WWF study reports that 40 percent of the world’s marine catches are due to this destructive fishing activity. As the ability of marine animals to reproduce becomes even more complicated, the consequences are harmful. Bycatch is a reflection of a grotesque loss of food for both predators and humans, in addition to the burden put on marine species.
Ghost fishing refers to leaving fishing items in a water body purposely or accidentally. Fishing nets still manage to capture big and small fish and other species, and after a long struggle to get to the top to breathe, the fish finally die from overtiredness or suffocation. The act of abandoning or losing fishing nets at sea has been exacerbated by increasing fishing activity and by the implementation of very robust synthetic fishing nets.
Cyanide fishing involves divers grinding cyanide tablets into water bottles of plastic squirt and puffing the concoction into the coral reefs to confuse and confine live fish. Despite being illegal in many countries, some fishers from Southeast Asia still practice the technique. The method was initially used in the Philippines in the 1960s to procure live fish for sale to aquarium owners in other countries, a market that has expanded enormously.
Moreover, it is also a common technique to supply fish to restaurants in Hong Kong and Singapore. For the creatures that gulp it down, the cyanide process is rather dangerous. Research indicates that within a year of being acquired, aquarium fish that have consumed cyanide develop cancer. For every fish captured using the cyanide method, there could be one square meter of the coral reef lost.
In Southeast Asia, this illegal fishing method is common. It requires the use of a sizeable encircling net with a variety of pounding devices, usually heavy stones or cement blocks attached to pound fish from coral reefs on the surface. With the cement blocks scaring the fish out, fishers pound the coral reefs.
The fish do not usually get afraid, but the stones and blocks collapse the coral reefs, leaving the fish with no place to hide and ending up being caught. The continuous destruction of the coral reefs threatens the marine ecosystem of the lower sea, which can take years to recover.
The worst-case scenario is that they never get back to rising. In the next decade, the non-stop use of the Muro-ami technique could contribute to the complete eradication of coral reef habitats in Southeast Asia. Due to this illegal fishing activity, fish can take hundreds of years to recover.
Bahan, bahiglukay, lukayan, gill net, ring net, or bahan – these are the other terms that fishers call to Kayakas. This technique is the smaller local variant of the “Muro-ami” with bamboo or tree trunks and coconut leaves or other materials to push the fish out of the coral reefs.
If a fisher captures more fish, even the small ones, it is often regarded as overfishing. To ensure proper management of different species of fish, there are recreational and commercial “bag limits.” By holding more fish than state or federal laws legally allow, recreational anglers can contribute to overfishing without following this law. Overfishing has a detrimental effect on marine biodiversity and in preserving the balance of an ecosystem because every living organism plays a unique role.
This illegal method destroys, disables or makes unconscious desires and other aquatic animals by using electricity produced by dry-cell batteries, electric generators, or other sources.
9.Obnoxious or Poisonous Substances
In this procedure, plant extracts, chemicals (such as cyanide) and other raw or refined substances are used for killing, stupefying, disabling or rendering unconscious fish and other aquatic animals. The use of plant extracts in fish ponds for the eradication of pests must be within reasonable limits and must not result in poisoning of neighboring waters. In fishponds, synthetic pesticides (Brestan, Aquatin) are also not permitted.
10.Keeping Undersized or Oversized Fish
The length limits ensure that a smaller fish population is available for harvesting. It decreases the pressure required for repopulation on juveniles and larger spawning sizes of fish.
What Are The Causes of Illegal Fishing?
Some fishers may be aware of the causes of illegal fishing, but why do some of them keep on doing the same method every time? If anglers are aware of the risks caused by illegal fishing, why do they continue fishing this way? For every action that we do, there is a root cause that pushes people to do things even when it’s terrible. Illegal fishing is destructive in all aspects, but what are the common causes of illegal fishing?
1.The regulatory systems in the issuance of fishing permits.
The definition of illegal, unreported and unregulated IUU fishing is very lucrative because there are no significant penalties. Not too many nations have adopted regulatory levels that are effective in deterring illegal fishing. In reducing such situations, the introduction of rules such as forfeiting catches and fishing boats would be very successful. Besides, a lot of anglers use fake operating firms, and their names continue to change to escape fines when they get into trouble.
2.Lack of funds or resources for surveillance and tracking.
It is a common reason, especially for countries that can’t afford this kind of technology yet. Financially vulnerable states set other goals other than marine fishing surveillance. Many that have illegal fishing policies prefer to pay meager salaries to their workers, which allows vessel owners to take advantage of them. Marine patrol boats and aircraft have also been poorly maintained by financially weak states, leaving space for illegal fishers to do as they please.
3.The economic and social circumstances in a specific location.
Research shows that many of the fishermen involved in illegal fishing are mainly from slow-growing economies and poor living conditions in developing countries. Also, people in low financial and social situations rely on illegal fishing to live. In continents such as Asia, Latin America and Africa, this cycle of relentless poverty and the need to provide a means of livelihood promotes illegal fishing.
4.Lack of proper law and surveillance activities
As you would have expected, the opportunity to have substantial influence over illegal fishing is due to the amount of supervisory, control, and surveillance programs. It provides lawful fishing operators with helpful indications and dispiriting possible rebelliousness. The following are some of the noteworthy features of this group.
- Lack of knowledge of fish stocks and quotas in the sense of a standard norm.
- There are little or no rules on fishing activities that allow fishing fleets to circumvent areas which do have regulations. In most foreign waters, this is the case.
- Problems with customs and import clearance bodies in situations where there is no doubt of the origin of fish.
5.Low risk & high return
Historically, illegal fishing has been a low-risk operation with high returns. As are the costs of fines and prosecution, the chances of being caught are relatively low. In search of higher catches, some fishermen skirt the rules, taking advantage of patchy laws of the commercial fishing industry and weak regimes of compliance at sea. Since the rewards are big and the chances of getting captured are tiny, the risks are worth taking.
6.Supervision can be expensive.
The cost of patrol boats and aircraft for procurement, repair and service is very high. For successful power, they must spend enough time out at sea or in the air. However, in some states, while they are usable, due to logistical problems such as lack of fuel, proper maintenance regime, etc., they are not operational.
7.Due to the lack of interest by the Authorities.
There is a shortage of sufficient and adequately trained staff at the level of the relevant authorities. However, the willingness of the authorities to invest in relevant staff is low. Financially vulnerable governments set other goals. Salaries are low, and vessel owners take advantage of this situation and make fraudulent payments to cover up their actions to observers or fisheries administrators.
Illegal fishing is a crucial cause of global overfishing, threatens marine habitats, endangers food security and regional stability, and is associated with significant abuses of human rights and even organized crime. At all costs, it is our responsibility to protect marine life and its living organisms for future generations. It is both a duty and responsibility that all anglers, whether as a profession or hobby, should keep in mind.