1 February, 2013 1 February, 2013

HT’s & Maccas Getting Blown To Bits – Dynamite fishing in Indo threatens more than just fish

Indonesian fishermen have been fishing with dynamite alongside some of the world's finest reef passes, meaning not only the destruction of marine life, but the potential damage to some of the world's finest waves.

Indonesian fishermen have been fishing with dynamite alongside some of the world’s finest reef passes.

Dynamite fishing in Indonesia is not something that’s just recently been on the rise. It has been going on for years and even featured in a SURFER magazine article in 2005.

The reason it hasn’t stirred up a great amount of attention in the past is due to the remoteness of many of the islands, so the fisherman have managed to practice their destructive way of fishing largely out of sight – and as the saying goes, ‘out of sight is out of mind!’

However, due to increasing tourism and local populations, the fishermen can no longer operate in secrecy as surf resorts and villages start to sprout up on more and more of these remote islands. A recent YouTube video of the fishermen bombing in the Playgrounds region of the Mentawais has sparked up much attention and a petition has been started by concerned parties, which will be presented to local authorities to request that they do something about the destruction being caused.

After all, it’s not only the fish that get killed by the dynamite – the explosions destroy the sensitive coral reefs (sometimes leaving craters as big as 3 meters in diameter), and with an estimate of over 2200 bombs having been exploding in the Mentawai region over the past few weeks, that equates to around 20 000m2 of damaged reef in that area alone.

Damaged reefs mean no breeding grounds for the dwindling fish stocks to be replenished and perhaps more alarming for the thousands of surfers that visit this area every year – if the fishing continues to migrate towards these areas, then there’s every likelihood for potential permanent damage to some of the Mentawai’s finer waves.

Hopefully this won’t become reality though, as the Ments region has a lot of vested interest in it, not just by the locals, but also by the tourism industry that operates in the area.

It’s a tough situation, as fish do form a large staple of the local population’s diet – so on one side you have the need to feed thousands of mouths, but on the other you have a practice of fishing that will completely wipe out the local reefs and fish stocks by the year 2020, according to Jess Ponting – Director of the Center for Surf Research at San Diego State University.

Ponting also went on to say, “This (the dynamite fishing) is being done on a commercial scale by people from the Sumatran mainland (most likely Sibolga) over a hundred miles away. This is not poor local fishermen feeding their families on a subsistence level.”

Either way, there is an urgent need to stop these fishermen from practicing this form of fishing, as although it is an easy solution to the need for food, it is something that is not sustainable in the long run and needs to be addressed, with perhaps better solutions being implemented.

It’s going to be an uphill battle, however, as largely thanks to the limited resources and equipment of the local law enforcement, they’ve tried and failed to put a stop to the growing number of boats engaged in dynamite fishing in the past. Concerned parties are hopeful that more interest stemming from this petition below will kick-start a more focussed plan by the local government to rid the area of the practice.

A growing population and dwindling fish stocks are not a good combination.

Here’s the petition to stop the dynamite fishing in the Mentawai region, click the link below if you’d like to sign it.


Sign the petition here>>

Read more about the dynamite fishing here.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Bros
    2 February, 2013 at 6:51 am · Reply

    Hey Guys

    I was wondering if you could help me out? I was looking through your shot bru pictures and came across a big shorebreak picture in Hurmanus, by any chance can you guys please tell me what beach that pic is taken in Hurmanus? I have reposted the picture on my wall and this has attracted alot of attention from skimboarders as well as skimboarding sites. My email address is mbros@iactive.co.za
    Many thanks


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *