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Dynamite Fishing 0708

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 9 months ago
Dynamite Fishing
By Lauren Cleope




Description and Rationale


    Dynamite fishing is an inhumane way of fishing.  It is not just an environmental problem in the Philippines, but is other various Asian countries too.  Dynamite fishing is an effective way for fishermen get a lot of fish fast and simple.  By having the abundance of fish to sell, the fishermen slowly get out of the poverty cycle.  Little do they know the consequences of dynamite fishing.  Some fishermen get hurt themselves by the dynamite blowing up in their faces, but the real marine environmental problem involves the coral.  In the ocean, coral is the habitat for fish.  Most local Filipino fishermen do not realize that by destroying the coral reefs, they destroy the homes of the fish, resulting in less area to fish.  It takes a long time for coral to rebuild itself but the fishermen keep dynamite fishing in some places for the fish and the coral slowly dies out.  This causes the fishermen to move to other fishing areas and dynamite fish there and it destroys more of the coral reef.  Acropora nasuta is a type of coral in the Philippines that is harmed by dynamite fishing or other destructive methods of fishing.

    What impact does dynamite fishing have on the coral?  Do fishermen specifically aim for one type of fish?  Would dynamite fishing then have an affect on only one type of coral to destroying it to extinction?  Is there a major demand for a certain type of food or aquatic pleasure?  How does this method of fishing affect the livelihood of people who depend on the fish to survive?  Are fishing nets and spear fishing ineffective compared to dynamite fishing?  Which method of fishing is cheaper: dynamite fishing of net fishing?  Is there any other effective, more efficient way to catch heaps of fish at one setting?

    Dynamite fishing is used to catch a lot of fish, but it destroys the environment in the process.  Acropora nasuta is a delicate type of coral that is easily destroyed by human stresses such as dynamite and cyanide fishing.  Is there another way to fish faster and  more resourcefully?  Many Philippine locals know that dynamite fishing is illegal, but they need the money to survive and fish for food.  Could there be a more economical way to fish to provide for the local Filipinos?  Is there really a difference in abundance between net fishing and spear fishing and dynamite fishing?  Dynamite fishing is the #1 hotspot in the Philippines.  Most fishermen do not understand that the relationship between the coral and the fish is very important.  Coral is beneficial for humans too.  One type of coral is used to treat AIDS.  Many are used for nutritional supplements and cosmetics too.  If a more effective and productive method to fish is provided to these fishermen, how would it be passed on to others?

    The purpose of this project is to be able to research the effects and other substantial ways to fish and provide food for the people of the Philippines.  To cover all aspects and perspectives about dynamite fishing, firsthand interviews will take place on the small Polilio islands.  Observations and action steps will take place at fish markets.  These findings of new fishing methods will be taken through an experimental stage in order to find the best effective and profitable way to fish.

    The goal of this project is to find new ways to fish and improve livelihood for the local Filipinos.  Another purpose of this project is to influence many Filipinos into conserving and preserving the Philippine environment.  Through much research, it will inform the people and give them a better understanding of the marine environment.



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Common Names and Synonyms


    Acropora nasuta is also known as branching staghorn coral.  The common name of Acropora nasuta is called A. nasuta yellow.  A. cerealis, A. valida, A. arabensis, A. secale, A. lutkeni, and A. kimbeensis are all part of the A. nasuta group.  There is no local name for Acropora nasuta in the Philippines. 


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Kingdom:        Animalia

Phylum:          Cnidaria (stinging nettle)

Class:             Anthozoa (coral, flower animals)    

Order:            Scleractinia (coral stone)

Family:           Acroporidae (pore)

Genus:           Acropora (porous stem or branch)

Species:         A. Nasuta (branching staghorn coral)


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Morphology and Physical Description




Acropora nasuta can grow to a maximum of two meters tall.  This species of coral resembles antlers (staghorn or branches).  It can form bush-like structures with some short branches too.  It can grow from 10-20 centimeters a year.  A. nasuta is a very delicate and is easily damaged by storms or human pressures such as dynamite (blast) fishing.  The branches of A. nasuta are thicker than other types of coral.  The colonies are classified by the colors pink, purple, and blue.  

    Staghorn corals are hermatypic coral meaning a reef building type of coral.  They are the fastest growing coral among the various types of coral reefs.  They are fast growing coral because they have light corallites meaning the skeleton of coral polyp.  Their corallites allow them to grow rapidly and overtake their nearby coral.  Another factor to faster reef building is that the corallites of polyp are built by specialized axial corallites.  These corallites form the tips of coral branches.  This species results in having a closely interconnected colony.


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Getting Food


    A. nasuta has a relationship with zooxanthellae, a type of green or yellowish algae.  The zooxanthellae live inside the coral tissues and provide food for the coral, which is produced through photosynthesis; it also requires sunlight.  In return, the coral provides the algae with protection and access to the sun.  Acropora species depend entirely on zooxanthellae for survival.  Zooxanthellae are important to the coral because it provides nutrients for the coral. 


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    A. nasuta can produce sexually and asexually.  In sexual reproduction, the eggs and sperm are released into the water.  The eggs are fertilized by the sperm in the water causing the water to turn a milky color.  Then the larvae settle on the same reefs or drifts to another reef.  They reproduce continually from October to December.  Asexual reproduction occurs when a branch breaks off the coral and reattaches to another and grows.


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Environmental Factors


    Most nasuta coral are located in tropical environments.  They live in sub tidal areas where they can receive sunlight to survive.  They only settle to a depth of thirty meters deep.  The upper levels are limited because the waves are strong.  Also, nasuta can’t live too deep because they need sunlight to stay alive and get food.  This coral requires a saltwater environment to survive.  Another means of survival is that the water is clean and should not contain many traces of phosphate and nitrate.  

    In dynamite fishing, the coral reefs are destroyed, but they do recover but not fast enough.  The fish in that area need coral to live; it is their environment.  The coral protects the fish from predators.  Also, since the fish that weren’t killed by the blast fishing can’t live in that area anymore, they move away, leaving that area of the ocean deserted.  The fishermen can’t fish there anymore, so they move to another part and dynamite fish again.  The coral in the ocean become endangered.


        "These are not poor Third World guys trying to put food on the table, go to the villages and find the people          who head the dynamite fishing cooperatives are the people with new Jeeps and new satellite dishes in their         houses.  This is about greed…"

        http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/invertebrates_marine/Acropora_spp/more_inf    o.html



    Coral need warmer water to grow faster and more efficient.  The range of temperature for coral growth is between 20 °C and 32 °C.    

    Acropora species can contain two different kinds of diseases: Black-banding disease and white-banding disease.  Black banding disease kills coral by releasing sulfur into the coral tissue.  White banding disease also kills coral tissue and is triggered by high temperatures.

    There are also animals that are destructive to the coral reefs.  The Acanthaster planci (crown of thorn starfish) like to feed on the fast growing corals like Acropora nasuta.  An outbreak of Ancanthaster planci can cause the coral to be under stress resulting in major permanent damages on the coral reefs.  The Drupella snail feeds on coral tissue, which causes major reef damage in the Indo-Pacific.  One of their favorite coral to feed on is the Acropora species.  

    Bleaching is another threat to the coral reefs.  When the temperature of the water rises to high, the zooxanthellae lose oxygen.  Thus, the coral discards the algae causing the coral to die.


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Origin and Distribution


    A. nasuta is originally from the Red Sea and the tropical Indopazifik (parts of the Indian Ocean and parts of the Pacific Ocean).  The nasuta coral is the most abundant coral in the Indo-Pacific including the Philippines.  Other areas of the world include the western Atlantic and the Caribbean.  Coral reefs are mainly found between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.


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Importance to People


    Coral reefs are important to fishermen because the fish they need to eat live in the coral environment.  If the coral environment disappears because of dynamite fishing, the fish disappear also.  It takes a long time for coral reefs to rebuild itself even for the fast growing coral.  The demand for fish is high in the Philippines, but the ocean is providing fewer environments for the fish because of dynamite fishing.  Many Filipinos depend on blast fishing because it’s the cheapest and fastest way to fish.  They also depend on blast fishing for survival.  In the Philippines alone, fish or fish products are a main source of food.  Fishing is one of the main sources of income and food for the local Filipinos.      

    Coral is also used for nutritional supplements, enzymes, pesticides, and cosmetics.


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Survivability and Endangered Status


The A. nasuta species is very fragile and delicate.  Storms destroy the reefs and coral is easily damaged.  Also, 24% of the world’s reefs are at risk of endangerment, because of human pressures such as over fishing, cyanide fishing, and dynamite (or blast) fishing.


        "The Acropora group of corals have shown their relatively high sensitivity tovarious natural and man-made             environmental stresses.  These corals thus well suited as biological indicators of coral health."



    Fishermen have no respect and understanding for the ocean, because they are releasing more sediment and pollutants into the oceans, which creates more stress on the coral reefs.  Dynamite fishing literally destroys and significantly harms the coral reefs.  The Philippines alone is the #1 hotspot for damaging coral reefs.  Also, in the Atlantic, these types of coral were once in abundance, but in many recent years, the reefs have declined drastically.  In the Philippines, 30% of coral reefs are dead and 39% of the coral reefs are in the processing of dying.  A. nasuta is an endangered species of coral.


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Potential Solutions


    As research has been done throughout the past few weeks, it was discovered that many Filipino locals are not actually aware what dynamite fishing is doing to marine life in the Philippine. Dynamite fishing is banned from many islands in the Philippines yet many Filipino fishermen still dynamite fish for their income and food.  It’s the easiest way to get a lot of fish in a cheap way.  On the Polilio islands, dynamite sticks are not hard to get.  Some fishermen make their own dynamite, but why make when they can easily buy it for a cheap price?  Little do they realize what dynamite does to the environment under the ocean.  Below are some alternative methods to protect the coral and provide numerous ways to fish.      


Possibility 1--Volunteer


    While researching about dynamite fishing, many cites popped up about becoming involved in marine life conservation.  It was very enlightening to see many environmental projects around the world.  The Coral Cay Conservation has expedition programs that help the environments all over the world.  One expedition was for the Philippines marine life.  Many volunteers from all over the world could help with this expedition.  They would take training courses in preparation of the expedition.  Many students have helped over the past years to help conserve the coral.





    1. People who volunteered would travel to certain places such as the Philippines to help conserve the coral.  They would take training courses to help rebuild endangered coral.  In many cases, they would talk to the locals in those countries to stop destroying the coral environment.  In the Philippines, the locals would then become aware of the endangerment of the coral and try to think of better ways to fish.  This would spread the word about the how destructive dynamite fishing is to the marine environment. 



    2. As a result of coral awareness, the fishermen will realize that the environment will be much better.  They do not know that when they destroy the coral, they destroy the fish’s environment causing the fish to relocate making it harder for the fishermen to find more fish.  The volunteers would be able to interact with the local Filipinos and teach them ways to conserve the marine environment.    






    1. This volunteer program is very expensive for students.  It requires a four to eight week course depending on the conservation program you are with.  The main headquarters of this organization is in the United Kingdom, so it’s hard to contact them.  As part of my research, an email was sent to this organization asking them some questions.  There has been no reply to that email.



    2. The fishermen may not be convinced to give up their easy fishing lives.  It is hard to change someone’s mind when it has been their tradition for many years.  The challenge is reaching to the islands of the Philippines and actually getting response, not just volunteering.


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Possibility 2--Talk to Fish Markets Vendors



    Another possibility is to talk to fish market vendors.  By sharing information to the fish vendors about dynamite fishing, it would be a possibility that they would help conserve the coral by not investing in dynamite-caught fish.  Also, by giving them a brochure, it will plant a seed in their mind about dynamite fishing.  There are some ways to determine whether the fish have been caught by dynamite fishers.  First, one side of the fish would be soft and wrinkled.  In addition, the bones inside the fish would be broken and there would be more blood.  I went to the DeCastro fish market to talk to some fish vendors.  They were very open about their fish.  One of the fish vendors said that she knows that dynamite fishing is bad.  She also included that she doesn’t buy fish from dynamite fishermen.  Already these two fish vendors don’t support dynamite fishing.  They may be able to influence other local fish vendors about the marine environment.    







    1.  By talking to these fish vendors and giving them a brochure, the truth about dynamite fishing may spread to many people.  When local Filipinos hear about this, they may want to try to help conserve the Philippines and create a better environment.



    2.  Some fish vendors might be willing to give up buying dynamite caught fish.



    3.  Brochures are very easy to make.  They are also cheap to make, so it is easy to distribute brochures in order to spread the word about dynamite fishing.   






    1.  Many fish vendors may not care about what we think when we tell them that dynamite caught fish is bad.  By talking to fish vendors, the message doesn’t actually get out to the dynamite fishers.  The fish vendors just buy the fish.  



    2.  Some fish vendors just want to make money for food.  It is their income.  They probably don’t want to give that up if it’s a steady job.


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Biblical Principle


    By spreading the word about dynamite fishing, I am also sharing the love of Jesus Christ because we are protecting and conserving the earth, which God created just for us.  God does not want us to destroy his creation, the earth.  By dynamite fishing, the fishermen are destroying the environment.  In Psalms 148:7 it says, “Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depth...” We should praise the Lord for creating this earth in which we live in.  Isaiah 19:8 says, “The fishermen will groan and lament, all who cast hooks into the Nile; those who throw nets on the water will pine away…” This verse implies that destructive fishing methods will destroy the marine life.  We should figure out environmental safe fishing methods to keep our earth intact.  In addition, God’s creation shows us how wonderful and amazing God is.  “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse,” (Romans 1:20).  We need to protect God’s creation.  That is what God sent us to this earth for.  “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."  We need to conserve the earth!




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