Monday, January 30, 2012

Appeal to end Dynamite Fishing ~ Reef Check Malaysia

Dear fellow divers,

I am writing to you on behalf of Reef Check Malaysia. As you might already know, last year RCM launched a fish bomb reporting system to collect much needed data on fish bombing incidents. We would first of all like to extend our gratitude to those of you who have been keeping us up to date with reports.

The purpose of my email today is to appeal for your help. It is imperative that we work together to put an end to this terrible practice as soon as we can. Especially now that we’re starting to get a better idea of the situation, which is not a pretty one I have to add. The rate of degradation at some sites is quite shocking to be honest. I have included below the content of 2 emails that were sent to us in the last week which hopefully will paint a picture of the severity of the problem.

So please do make use of our reporting system if you hear a fish bomb explode while you are diving. It is easy and won’t take more than 2 minutes. All you have to do is fill up an online form at or text us at 010 3636013 and we’ll do the rest.

We have to take action now, before it is too late.

With thanks,

Aaron Tam

Communications Officer

Reef Check Malaysia Bhd

03 2161 5948

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The following emails were sent to RCM regarding Fish Bombing around Mantabuan Island. The second message is a part of the reply that the same diver sent after the response from the first.

  1. “I have been scuba diving at Mantabuan island a few weeks ago and also for a second time today and am shocked the degradation of the coral reef between these two trips. It is very evident that a significant amount of coral bombing has recently occurred at the dive sites resulting in the severe damage of several large coral bommies and coral encrusted rocks. The impact of the blast has also damaged nearby soft corals and the surrounding reef. Many dead fish could also been seen on the reef throughout the day.

I understand that coral bombing/fish blasting is an illegal activity within the park and I ask why these practices are still occurring? I have dived most of the islands in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park and in my opinion Mantabuan has the most beautiful and diverse coral reef of all. These destructive practices not only damage the reef forever but will also have a knock on effect of a reduction of tourist numbers. If there is no reef left, there will be no fish and therefore no divers in the future. I see that there is a currently a big push to save sharks in Sabah but they will only return to the reef if it is healthy and contains enough prey to support a shark population. It is therefore extremely important that the coral reefs in this area are protected for future generations.”

2. “I visited Mantabuan again today and am extremely sorry to report that the situation has gotten much worse. On one dive alone there must have been thousands of dead fish on the reef and several new areas had been bombed since I was there a few days ago. Two extremely loud explosions were also heard whilst I was on the first dive. On the final dive a newly dead turtle was seen with a large crack in its shell. I can only think that this occurred as a result of bombing as the turtle was surrounded by dead fish. All the divers were shocked by the sad sights experienced today and could not believe that the practice of fish bombing exists in Sabah.”

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