Indonesian disaster

Doug Fenner d.fenner at
Mon Sep 21 19:03:03 EDT 1998

   I've just spoken with Charlie Veron who has just returned from a trip to
north Flores, Indonesia.  This is an area that is said to be among the best
that Indonesia has to offer for coral reefs.  The current economic crisis
with the skyrocketing price of rice has many people desperate if not
starving.  In their desperation, blast fishermen are out in large numbers.
Charlie heard blasts about every 10 minutes.  The results are that the
reefs have for the most part been reduced to rubble- nothing left.  Charlie
spoke to several people who had been to different parts of Indonesia, and
they confirmed that the same sort of thing has happened all over except for
a few areas where there are still rice supplies.  Charlie reported that if
you got way out from shore, beyond the reach of the canoes, that there are
reefs that are still in good shape with fantastic coral.  One presumes that
they too are in danger of being demolished in time.  The words "ecological
disaster" come to mind if this is widespread.
   I wonder if others have observed this- Please post reports for everyone
to read.  -Doug
Douglas Fenner, Ph.D.
Coral Taxonomist
Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB No 3
Townsville MC
Queensland 4810
phone 07 4753 4241
e-mail: d.fenner at

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