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Government wages all-out war vs blast fishing

- Ma. Elisa Osorio  () - February 27, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The government has waged an all out war against blast fishing because of the ill effects of dynamite.

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), has issued a stern warning on fishermen who are doing this illegal activity.

Fishing with explosives had been banned in the country since the seventies with the issuance of Presidential Decree 704 and the law was strengthened with the signing of RA 8550 in 1998.

Accordingly, the mere possession of explosive for illegal fishing is punishable by imprisonment ranging from six months to two years.

The actual use of explosives carries an imprisonment ranging from five years to 10 years without prejudice to the filing of separate criminal cases when the use of the same result to physical injury or loss of human life.

Moreover, the dealing in, selling, or in any manner disposing of, for profit, illegally caught/gathered fisheries caught by explosives is punishable by an imprisonment ranging from six months to two years.

The test blast conducted recently in a two-hectare fishpond at the BFAR’s Central Visayas Regional Fisheries Research and Development Center showed that all fish larvae of siganids, grouper and bangus used as test fish were killed at a distance of 65 meters from the blast site. 

The agency’s national director Asis G. Perez said “even matured fish are seriously affected at such a distance.”

Studies show that a one-liter size home-made bomb could send powerful shockwaves up to a speed of 4,940 feet per second. However, in the blast test, only a low density surface primer half the efficacy of the common dynamite in fishing was used.

Current studies of the BFAR on-board its research vessel shows that on the average, the density of fish eggs, larvae and juveniles in offshore waters of the Sulu and the Visayan seas could reach 3,000 individuals per 100 cubic meter of water sample. “If we are to extrapolate the result of this data on the blast area alone of 8 million cubic meters (200m x 200m x 200m), the total population of affected fish could reach up to 24 million,” Perez said.

BFAR estimated that the cost of the damage for fish alone in one blast area could reach up to P24,000, while the recalcitrant fishermen gains only a measly P800 from harvesting up to 10 kilos of fish at a landing price of P80 per kilo.

ASIS G BFAR BLAST BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES CENTRAL VISAYAS REGIONAL FISHERIES RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FISH FISHING PEREZ PRESIDENTIAL DECREE SULU AND THE VISAYAN
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