Resorts & Blast Fishing

DBaker dbaker at
Wed Jul 22 23:33:45 EDT 1998

           Re: Dynamite fishing in Philippines
           Thu, 23 Jul 1998 11:31:54 +0800
           DBaker <dbaker at>
           Ana Marie Alcantara <hapalcan at>

Ana Marie Alcantara wrote:
> Dear Sir/Madam:
> We are a beach resort owner in the Philippines and we have a problem
> with local community. They had been using dynamites for fishing and as
> well as throw waste around the seashore. We tried to educate them (since
> most of them are uneducated) with the consequences of dynamite fishing
> and as well as gave them free toilet bowls for them to poop but
> nevertheless they don't care. We tried so hard to help them improve
> their lifestyle but couldn't figure out on how to tickle these people.
> Do you have any suggestions on how will we prevent these people on using
> these dynamites and reducing waste around our community? We need public
> support and we cannot improve our  market in our resort if they don't
> help us. I am very much aware of what is happening to our environment
> now and concerned with the coral reefs. I want to prevent the coral reef
> of an island near our resort too. Is there any group of people in the
> Philippines who cares for the environment (coral reefs in general)?
> Thank you very much.
> Sincerely,
> Ana Marie Alcantara

Hello Ana Marie,

Though you may be receiving some interesting replies from Coral-L, I
would like to reply from my very own "hands-on experience", whereas, I
have been the resident ecologist/biologist/aquaculturist for Gayana
Resort Bay Sdn. Bhd. / Kota Kinabalu/ Sabah, Malaysia for some 3 years

I have attained limited success in:

        *       The establishment of a 7sqkm marine life sanctuary that
                includes a 3sqkm mangrove area.
        *       Stopping the use of explosives & cyanide in this
                sanctuary and the nearby reefs by 1 km buffer from the
        *       Educating the local nearby villages as to why their
                fish catches are much better outside the sanctuary.

How did we attain this?    We have employed about 30% of the Resort
staff from these nearby villages. [Ladies as housekeepers, dishwashers,
and beach cleaners - men as maint. staff and also beach cleaners] We
have also under our hire one of the village elders as head of security.
This effort is to win their support & loyalty to the Resort and the
Sanctaury by their employ....and direct involvement with the Resort's
development.  Sort of like having them part & parcial of the facilities
operations in a more possessive manner to these villagers.  This
certainly may seem to be over simplifying it..but it has worked.

Initially, as an American, I was "ugly" to the villagers that would
bomb/blast the reefs 2 km away from the sanctuary...taking pictures and
then having a fishermen swinging a machete at me the Resort.  He
was trying to feed his little children.  If I took the photo to the
police, he gets thrown in jail, beat up, and his children go hungry and
have to beg off other families.  Difficult to Deal with indeed. So, I
eventually chilled out. I only insisted, through the village elder
security chief at the Resort, that, "please, no bombs or cyanide in or
next to the Sanctaury.  You will catch more fish. Please be patient." 
They villages seem to respect this approach much better.  The fishermen
even bring the pretty aquarium fishes to the Project aquariums..... 

With the solid waste trash that floats onto our beach and from Resort
ops,  [90% plastics] we collect and compress into large gabion net cages
[used for construction, etc.], outer coat/line with concrete and sink in
70 ft of water off shore in the effort to establish an artificial reef
and further enhance local fisheries yields.

As this Resort is also an "education" for its Malaysian owners, one of
the most important waste features coming from the Resort is septic
graywater & blackwater discharge.  We are now installing a unique
hydroponic treatment system to address this waste.  Concurrent changes
will also be made with soap constiuents [sodium chg to potassium base]as

For the villagers themselves, direct educational "correction" and even
police action will not work. It was initially tried at Gayana in
1994/95.  One of the first recommendations I made, when I came on board,
was to hire a few of the villagers as housemaids and restaurant
dishwashers.  It evolved thereafter into what we have today.

I also am the director of The Reef Project.  This facility and effort is
part of the theme that sustains the Resort.  We have a large public
building complete with a Hall/Forum [50pax seating] for evening video
movies about coral reefs, etc.  The other part of the Project [raceways,
labs, dive locker] is mariculture & rehabilitation research and
development of giant clams, corals, and high value marine aquarium
fishes. And, Yes, we employ two local villagers at this Project as well.

Please feel free to contact me direct with questions & recommendations
requests on any matters for your Resort.

Don E Baker
Director & Founder
Pulau Gaya / 88000 Kota Kinabalu
G16 Wisma Sabah
Sabah, Malaysia

[reefprj at & reefprj at]

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