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Bomb Fishing
Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info

Bomb fishing is one of the most destructive human impacts to coral reefs, estimated to destroy 3.75% of the live coral cover each year in some areas (Pet-Soede et al. 1999). Old ammunitions and dynamite are sometimes used. More often, fishermen use chemical bombs made from fertilizer and kerosene or diesel fuel. Bombs effectively kill or stun fish and making them easy to collect. Bomb fishing on reefs, where fish densities are high, is an efficient, but highly destructive method because it can harvest large quantities of target species, but also kill many untargeted animals. As fish sizes and catches decline due to overfishing, bombs allows fishers to collect large numbers of the remaining smaller, reef fishes in an effort to maintain their catch. While bomb fishing may be easy, and provide quick profits, its use will only give short-term gains since bombs destroy the structure of the coral reef and the habitats that maintain fish populations. In economic terms, the net loss to bomb fishing has been conservatively estimated at US$300,000/km2 of reef (Cesar et al. 2003). By using bombs a fisherman not only risks losing an arm or even his life, but he also risks the livelihoods of his descendents for many generations in the future.
Blast fishing. Location: Bohol, Danahon Reef, Philippines Photo by: T. Heeger (from ReefBase: http://www.reefbase.org)
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