Thread: Dynamite Fishing
02-23-2008, 02:56 AM #1
LBO >> Law Submarine Mafia </STRONG> </STRONG> </STRONG>23 February 2008 11:57:10Sri Lanka coral reef fisheries destroyed by organized crime: officials
Feb 23, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's coastal fisheries and coral reefs are being destroyed by a rapid rise in dynamite blasted 'fishing', with the lucrative practice now exploding into an organized crime involving big money, officials said.
Dyanamite fishing is a destructive way of killing fish by setting off explosives underwater so that the resulting shock waves kill fish in a vast surrounding area.
Though first started by some fishermen in isolated areas a few decades ago, the practice is now being bank-rolled by a rapidly growing mafia from outside the traditional fisher community.
Traditional fishermen and officials say the 'dynamite mafia' has now perfected a system which they put into practice with assembly line precision.
Underwater photos obtained by LBO from an eyewitness, shows the entire crime sequence in action.
First a small boat goes over a fishing ground unobtrusively dropping primed sticks of dynamite.
Sometime later a second boat comes and drops scuba divers nearby who stealthily start collecting the dead fish in gunny bags.
A boat then comes again to pick up the gunny bags.
Officials say the practice is now spreading beyond the coastal waters.
"In the early days it has been done by the small scale fishermen," Champa Ameresinghe, a marine biologist from the National Aquatic Resources Development Agency (NARA) told ETV's Money Report program.
"Now it is like an organized crime. They do it in the open sea also. For example in the Puttalam area and the Kalpitiya area they even use it on encircling nets when they cannot control the school.
"Only about half the fish is collected."
In the coastal areas especially from Beruwala to Hikkaduwa dynamiting among the coral reefs is now being bank-rolled by businessmen from outside the traditional fisher community.
Most fishermen are too scared to speak openly, fearing reprisals from the dynamite mafia. But some are willing to take the risk after seeing their livelihoods being destroyed.
"Around 10 to 12 boats come each day from Weligama, Midigama, and Mirissa and drop dynamite," says W M Gunapala, a traditional fishermen from near Galle.
"After they drop not a fish is left in the whole area. Not a creature comes near the shore then, leave alone fish."
The percussion destroys the internal organs of fish and other marine fauna killing them instantly.
"Everything – fish, other marine animals, fish eggs – is destroyed," says C D Nagahawatte from Sri Lanka's fisheries ministry office in the southern coastal town of Galle.
"It's like a bomb," explains Amerasekera. "All internal organs are damaged."
Coral polyps die in blast sites. Divers say blasted areas could be easily recognized from the dead coral and lifeless barnacles.
There are stiff penalties for dynamite fishing which was outlawed in Sri Lank in 1996.
"Any wrongdoer caught will be fined 100,000 rupees and his goods will be confiscated," says Nagahawatte.
"For a second offence he will be given a jail sentence of up to five years."
But the practice is continuing and gaining ground. The current high price of fish is another magnet for business interests to make a quick buck.
"The price is good and a lot of fish can be caught unlike when using a net to fish," observes Dharmasena Jayasekara, another traditional fisherman from near Galle.
Knowledgeable persons say that a person who helps in a dynamite boat can earn 3,000 rupees a day compared to 500 rupees for a diver or fishing boat. Even inexperienced labourers could now earn more than an experienced fisherman.
Though some fishermen allege that police is turning a blind eye, everyone agrees that law enforcement authorities have a genuine problem to find cash to hire boats and patrol the seas or even act on tip-offs.
Increasingly larger volumes of fish that is now turning up on shop counters and supermarkets are now actually dynamited fish. Officials say an experienced person can easily identify dynamited fish from the air bladders that have burst and eyes that have come out. Other signs to look out for are bloodshot eyes, and bloodshot areas in the belly of the fish.
02-23-2008, 03:23 AM #2
WOW! It's real!!?
I was listening to a few truck drivers on the CB when I was in louisiana last month talking about when they were younger they'd make homemade bombs to bring the fish afloat & they would sack em up..
Thats all we need now, Greedy ass bastards to Destroy the underworld for $$$.
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