Bomb fishing continues near dive site
BULELENG: The destructive fishing practice of using explosives is still rampant in waters around Menjangan Island, one of Bali’s top diving sites, local fishermen reported.
Several fishermen stated that the blast of home-made explosives could often be heard in the Gulf of Brumbun and Gulf of Kelor, both lie to the north of Menjangan Island.
“We suspect that several officers from the West Bali National Park have turned a blind eye toward the practice and have received bribes from the perpetrators. So far, not a single individual has been arrested for bomb fishing,” a local fisherman, who refused to be named, said.
The waters around Menjangan Island are known for the pristine coral reef and an abundance of beautiful fish. The area has grown into a top diving site, on a par with Tulamben and Amed in Bali’s eastern region. Menjangan Island is part of the West Bali National Park, the island’s largest nature reserve.
In the past, destructive fishing practices, including the use of explosive cocktails and deadly poison, were a common thing among fishermen in the villages that dotted Bali’s northern coastline. Years of intervention from environmental NGOs and tourism operators have succeeded in significantly reducing these dangerous practices.
Buleleng maritime police chief, Adj. Comr. Nyoman Widastra, said that an investigation had been launched to identify and arrest the perpetrators. However, he said, the police’s lack of personnel and equipment would likely limit the results of the investigation.
“Our unit is responsible for patrolling a body of water the size of nearly three-fourths of Bali. Yet, we only have three speedboats,” he said.
A local water sports operator, Imanuel Jarakana, warned that weak law enforcement against the perpetrators of destructive fishing practices would endanger not only the environment, but also the tourism industry.