The founder of TRACC, one of the dive instructors, and myself had gone out for a nice deep dive along one of Pom Pom Island’s better dive spots called North Tip.
We were going deep!
Deeper than I had ever been before.
Every time I had been diving the wall at North Tip, I wondered what was further down. This was my day to find out.
We had a very lovely dive. I was able to feed my curiosity and see the lower points of the wall, and we were able to get some good pictures for TRACC’s website and Facebook.
After taking an extra long safety stop, we decided it was time to head to the surface.
That’s when things got crazy!
We were ascending along the mooring line for our boat when we heard an extremely loud explosion. I actually thought someone’s tank or BCD had exploded, but when looking around, there wasn’t anything wrong.
It wasn’t until we reached the surface and noticed a nearby boat that I realized what had happened.
And not only dangerously close to us but also dangerously close to TRACC’s coral nursery. With one bomb, they could have wiped out years of hard work.
This is a problem that happens all around Borneo, Indonesia, and the Phillipines. This area is also referred to as the ‘Coral Triangle’.
Fishermen head out in there boats normally to a lesser populated area to remain more unnoticed and then drop small bombs made out of bottles and fertilizer into the water. That way they can kill multiple fish in one fell swoop.
However they end up killing all the surrounding coral and any other marine animals along with the fish!
What is even worse is the fact that the ‘Coral Triangle’ is home to nearly 600 different species of reef building corals, 6 of the 7 species of sea turtles, and a couple thousand different reef fish.
If the coral is destroyed, all of these marine animals will go with it.
I have had many discussions about the issue with others. Most of the time the people doing the bomb fishing are very poor. They are hungry and just trying to put food on their plates.
I have never known and hopefully will never know what it is like to be that hungry, but hungry or not we cannot keep destroying our environment. I know it is easier said than done when I am not the one starving.
The truth is if we keep destroying the habitat of the food that is being caught, then that food will eventually cease to exist.
I know we have even bigger issues with overfishing, but that will have to be discussed in another post.
Bomb fishing is very illegal.
Authorities have been trying different methods to combat bomb fishing, but there is still much more to be done.
Since we could see the people who set off the bomb near us, we went to the local police and took them back to the bomb fishermen’s boat.
They of course had dumped all of the evidence, but the police gave them quite a good scare.
Hopefully they went back to their island and told the rest of the fishermen in their village not to bomb fish anywhere near Pom Pom again.
The lack of education and desperation have kept the practice of bomb fishing alive. I really hope we can try and educate these fishermen and find another way for them to put food on their plates.
Click here to find out more on how you can work with TRACC and help reverse the damage cause by bomb fishing.