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Jakarta Post

Issue: Fishermen blast premier dive sites

  • The Jakarta Post

  /   Wed, April 25 2012   /  10:37 am

April 20, Online

Coral gardens that were among Asia’s most spectacular, teeming with colorful sea life just a few months ago, have been transformed into desolate gray moonscapes by fishermen who use explosives or cyanide to kill or stun their prey.

Dive operators and conservationists say the government is not doing enough to protect waters off the
Komodo Islands in eastern Indonesia. They say enforcement declined greatly following the exit of a US-based environmental group that helped fight destructive fishing practices.

Local officials disagree, pointing to dozens of arrests and several deadly gunbattles with suspects.

Michael Ishak, a scuba instructor and professional underwater photographer who has made hundreds of trips to the area, said he’s seen more illegal fishermen than ever this year.

The pictures, he said, speak for themselves.