Automated Fish Blasting Sensor

Simon Wilson 106422.2221 at
Wed Dec 9 03:47:10 EST 1998

The availability of a system to log the rate of blast fishing would be a
very useful tool to coastal managers in areas where blast fishing occurs.  
However, directing fisheries enforcement officers to sites where blasting
is most intense is a very small part of the solution to the issue as a
whole because the majority of fishers engaged in destructive fishing
practices are often the poorest in the community and have very few choices
left to them.  Poverty and a history of overfishing are the causes that
need to be addressed, while destructive fishing is a strategy for coping
with them. 

The long term solution to fish blasting has yet to be found, but probably
lies in finding alternative sources of income for fishing communities,
enforcement at the community level and getting more (perhaps by adding
value or protecting core areas) from the available fisheries resource.  
Combinations of each of these approaches need to be tested. This raises the
question of how best to measure the efficiency of such management
intervention, which is where the true value of a blast detection system

When the rate of blasting before and after management intervention is
compared, we have a direct measure of how effective management has been in
addressing one of the most important indicators of a coral reef/human
system in collapse, destructive fishing.  This is the approach that has
been advocated by the one of the most carefully considered attempts to
manage coral reefs in an area badly affected by destructive fishing, the
Indonesian COREMAP project.  For the sakes of the ordinary people of South
East Asia, and for the coral reefs on which they depend, let's hope that a
sustainable solution can be found to the destructive fishing issue in
general, and to the blast fishing issue in particular.

Simon Wilson

PO Box 2531
CPO 111
Sultanate of OMAN

Tel:    00 968 736260 (h)
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E-mail:         106422.2221 at

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