Blast Fishing: Chinese Anglers Under Fire For Using Homemade Bombs

A group of fishermen in China are facing an official crackdown for their use of blast fishing techniques, in which homemade bombs are employed to stun and kill unsuspecting sea life.

As the Daily Mail notes, blast fishing is outlawed in many countries due to the unpredictability of its effect on marine ecosystems. In southeast China, however, the practice is thriving, as fishermen in Dayawan Bay not only employ the tactic, but have turned it into a kind of tourist attraction as well. Visitors can even pay to go out with fishermen and throw a few bombs in the water themselves, according to the Mirror.

Utilizing either dynamite or homemade bombs fashioned from glass bottles, the fishermen create shock waves underwater that stun or kill the unsuspecting fish. The technique also ruptures the animal’s swim bladders, the organs that help fish control their buoyancy. While some of the fish rise to the surface, others sink to the sea floor, indiscriminately killed by the blast. The explosions are responsible for the deaths of other sea life, as well as damage to coral reefs and sub-sea habitat.

Angler Liau Xiou, 32, signed up for a fishing trip in Dayawan Bay with friends, after seeing an advertisement promising “fishing action.” After just a short while, however, their trip took an unexpected and explosive turn.

A Chinese official said that authorities are trying to crack down on blast fishing.
The anglers reportedly make more money from tourists than from the fish they catch.

“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,” he recalled.

“They then threw them overboard and just seconds later there was a huge serious 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.”

Earlier this year, a fisherman in China faced international criticism after he captured a juvenile whale shark, measuring 16 feet in length. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the angler strapped the endangered animal atop a truck and drove it 10 miles to the nearest market, though the shark died along the way.

A spokesman for the Chinese Fishery Bureau observed that fishermen make most of their money by taking paying tourists out to watch them engage in dynamiting the animals, while noting that authorities are trying to crack down on blast fishing.

[Images: CEN via the Daily Mail]