The regional government of East Flores is strengthening its fight against illegal fishing using explosives which is deemed destructive. Authorities are deploying sea patrols in partnership with non-profit organizations to monitor the waters along East Flores to prevent bomb or blast fishing.
In addition to being illegal, bomb fishing comes with drastic effects to the area’s fragile eco-system and the environment. These preventative measures being taken are a joint effort by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Marine Police and the Navy.
To date, authorities have made multiple arrests including an unlicensed 24-GT fish carrier carrying 5 crew members and its captain. All of the suspects were arrested and charged with up to 6 years in jail. The most recent arrest took place within the vicinity of Deri ferry port on Adonara Island. The suspect was reprimanded after authorities received a tip-off from another fisherman who then rushed to the scene. The suspect was arrested and then handed over to the Marine and Fishery Resources Supervisory Station for further legal proceedings.
Head of East Nusa Tenggara’s Division of Coastal Regions and Small Islands, Yuvensius Stefanus Nonga urges authorities to also hold any corporations involved responsible. It is not only the fishermen who are to blame – those who are purchasing the illegally sourced fish via blast fishing should also bear the consequences.
“We hope that the corporations who are encouraging such despicable acts will also be punished,” stated Stefanus to Mongabay.
According to the agency, there were 317 cases of illegal fishing from 2014 to June 2017 in East Nusa Tenggara. 294 fish carriers were arrested with up to 7,468 tons of fish, all illegally caught. The number seems to be decreasing, thanks to the authorities and NGOs continuous and dedicated patrolling.
Photo source: Mongabay