Dynamite Fishing in Daya Bay

Fishermen in Daya Bay – home to Hong Kong’s closest nuclear power plant – face an official crackdown on their use of home-made bombs to blast fish out of the water.

So-called ‘blast fishing’ is outlawed in many countries because of the destructive and unpredictable effect it can have on the marine ecosystems that support fish stocks.

But the practise is nonetheless thriving in Daya Bay, less than 100km northeast of Hong Kong. Visitors there can even pay to go out with the fishermen and throw a few bombs in the water themselves.

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The pictures below were published by the Daily Mail in an area described by travel guides as ‘an unpolluted, quiet paradise for sea-lovers’ and show fishermen hurling explosives into the water to stun or kill fish.

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Their target are yellow croakers (Larimichthys polyactis) that they head out to catch every November. But the explosions also kill other sea life in the area and severely damage the underlying habitat.

Underwater shockwaves from the explosions stun fish and rupture their swim bladders – the tiny gas-filled organs that help fish to control their buoyancy. The rupturing causes an abrupt loss of buoyancy, so while a small number of fish float to the surface, many more sink to the sea floor, where they join any other marine organisms indiscriminately killed by the blasts.

But this irresponsible practise has now apparently become a tourist attraction. An angler who unwittingly signed up to a trip in Dayawan Bay, said:

We saw an advert promising ‘fishing action. We’d been out for about 30 minutes when the men told us they were going to feed the fishes. They were laughing and stuffing the bottles with powder and what looked like stones. They then threw them overboard and just seconds later there was a huge series of explosions.
And then all these dead fish appeared floating on the surface which the fishermen hauled in with nets. I was absolutely disgusted and shocked beyond belief.

A spokesman for the Chinese Fishery Bureau said: ‘These fishermen make most of their money from taking tourists out to watch them at work. We are attempting to crack down on it though.’

Source: MailOnline, 1/12/2014

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