80% of corals in Siargao lost to blast fishing

DAPA, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/24 April) — Eighty percent of the corals in the island of Siargao including Bucas Grande have been totally destroyed mainly by destructive fishing.

Giani Grifoni, Swiss-Italian National, a marine biologist and ecologist who have been living in the island for four years said blamed the destruction on f dynamite fishing.

He said he has many underwater pictures to show how massive the destruction of the marine environment has been.

He told MindaNews on Monday that 70-80 dynamite bottles go off daily in the waters of Siargao and Bucas Grande.

Residents and divers who have gone to the island also attested to the destruction caused by destructive fishing activities.

Johann Jake Miranda, a diver from Surigao City said blast fishing in Siargao remains the number one problem.

“Everything on the top side looks world-class and beautiful. The Department of Tourism and the Surigao government cherishes Siargao as one of the country’s brightest tourism gems. Everything above water makes for beautiful posters,” Miranda said.

But he lamented that no one seems to care about the life underwater.

“Because one doesn’t see the obvious destruction caused by dynamite fishing. There are hundreds if not thousands of the same damage in other parts of Siargao. Corals never grow back easily. It takes a lifetime to bring back the fish,” Miranda said through his Facebook account.

Miranda also showed pictures he got during his dives in the island.

“Today, dynamite fishing in Siargao Island and Bucas Grande continues unabated. It is time to stop it for the sake of our children and their children who are yet to enjoy the beauty and diversity of Siargao. Let us not turn a blind eye. It is time for immediate, sincere, concrete actions and long term planning,” he added.

Pidoy Nohara, 74, from Barangay Union in Dapa town recalled that corals and fish were abundant during the 60’s, about the same time that dynamite fishing started.

He said in the late 60’s, he and fellow fishermen could get 60-80 lobsters as big as his mid-calf near Pasukian Island every day.

“We sold it three for one peso then but still, only a few would buy,” he said, adding there were plenty of corals and fish at the time. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)