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DYNAMITE FISHING

        The greatest advantage of dynamite fishing is that the fishermen no longer need to buy a net. Once the dynamite has killed all of the fish, they can easily scoop their catch manually. Nevertheless, the problem in using dynamite, is that not only is a huge number of fish killed...holes are also made in coral reefs.  Some have a diameter of up to 5 meters. This is not good, for coral branches take 15 years to grow and a whole coral colony may take 30-50 years (McAllister & Ansula, 1993). Besides this, juveniles are killed and larvae destroyed.

        In the Philippines, there are many people that sell dynamite sticks (illegally) at prices ranging from P40 to P50 per blast.  According to surverys, ten percent of more than 700,000 municipal fishermen are hardcore explosive fishermen.  Their tricks include “piggybacking” on the operations of commercial fishermen.  By trailing the commercial fishers who use sophisticated equipment, the dynamite fishers are able to track down schools of fish which they blast away, before their commercial competitors can get at them with their bulky nets.  Another technique of theirs is to employ local residents to gather the blasted fish.  In areas protected by Bantay-Dagat teams, the fishermen explode and escape, allowing trusted local contacts to collect the dead fish.  This arrangement, ensures that they do not have to deal directly with law enforcers.

 
        A new-found technique at long-distance detonation has made the fishermen more confident.  Instead of throwing the bomb into the water right after lighting its wick with a hand-held cigar, blast fishers have developed another method.  They invest money on batteries and hundreds of meters of solid electrical wire.  One end of the wire is “hitched” to the fuse of the bomb; the other to an improvised detonating switch that is energized by two AA batteries.  After dropping the homemade bomb at the target spot, they sail hundreds of meters away until it is enough to detonate the bomb.  This method eliminates the risk of accidental blowups that have either killed or injured hundreds of fishers.  It also enables blast fishers to trick law enforcers by staying far from the scene of the crime and lowering the sound of explosion by planting the bombs deep down the coral reef areas.
 

        To check for dynamited fish, one has to lift the operculum or the lid covering the gills.  Sometimes, the impact of the blast is so strong that even the gills are liquefied or reduced to a mush.  If the fish were killed by a weaker blast checking would require a person to squeeze the abdomen.  If the innards ooze out of the pharynx in a liquefied or mushy state, then chances are that the fish has been blasted.
 
 
 

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