Dynamite fishing, as shown in the picture to the right, can be a very dangerous fishing technique. It can cause many accidents including loss of limbs to the fisherman. Coral degradation through destructive fishing practices states that dynamite alone is not the only thing used in blast fishing. Fisherman also use homemade bombs, potassium nitrate, gasoline, fertilizer, and sugar. Fisherman will throw lit dynamite into the open waters where fish live. This shocks the fish to where they float making it easier for the fisherman to collect the stunned fish. Dynamite fishing is inexpensive and effective. The bombs cost on average 1-2 U.S. dollars and they receive between 15 and 40 dollars for the fish collected. Blast fishing can destroy 10-20 square meters and large craters. In the Philippines, blast fishing is a widely used fishing technique.
Cyanide fishing destroys thousands of hectares of essential coral reef habitats each year. Cyanide fishing is the process of crushing a cyanide tablet into a squirt bottle and squirting the solution into the water surrounding a fish. The fish becomes stunned from the poison to make it easier to capture. This allows the fish to be sold on the market alive. The market for live fish trade is booming, making hundreds of million each year. 50-60% of the trade fish from the Philippines and Indonesia are captured by cyanide fishing. Also 25% of aquarium fish are caught by cyanide and also 44% of tropical fish used for human consumption tested positive for cyanide.
Fishing with cyanide may be great for the market but it is not good for the ecosystem. 330,000 pounds of cyanide are put into the Philippine reefs every year. This technique bleaches the corals and also effects other organisms in the environment. The recovery of corals from blast fishing is several hundred years, making this technique unsustainable. There are laws against cyanide fishing but 14% of reefs continue to be destroyed each year in the Philippines.
Ways to prevent cyanide fishing include teaching the fisherman alternative methods of fishing and enforcing the laws more strictly, promoting coral reef habitats by tourism, and also not buying tropical aquatic fish that have been caught by cyanide. Not ordering live tropical fish from restaurants helps lower the demand for cyanide fishing. Cyanide can be tested in fish but it is not tested often. Testing more frequently would help to catch the fisherman using this technique and fine them so they are less likely to use cyanide fishing again. To help preserve the reefs and ecosystem diversity, set up private areas where fish farms and coral can grow without the immediate danger of blast fishing.