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In conjunction with World Environment Day, Miguel?s Diving is sponsoring a public awareness campaign on coral reef preservation. The target audience is fishermen whose livelihood depends on a healthy marine environment. The biggest threat is the practice of making fertilizer bombs to blast fish. Although this results in a huge catch initially, many fish and marine life unsuitable for market die as well. Live coral formations are ruined. This loss of habitat has had dramatic, negative impact on fish catches elsewhere. Fortunately, along the coastline where Miguel?s Diving bring divers, damage is confined only to certain places with many locations untouched.
Our emphasis is the need for local fishermen to guard their own reefs. Along this coastline of Gorontalo, those who fish with bombs are no longer locals but outsiders. As a direct result of this campaign in past years, local fishermen have rowed out to meet outsiders who have entered the area to blast fish. They deliver the message that blast fishing is not allowed in this area designated for marine tourism. They also mention that the governor likes to dive here. As a result, the intruders quickly leave without throwing their bombs. This is a clear victory for local fishermen and their families.
Miguel?s Diving visited five villages this week accompanied by representatives from the Provincial Fisheries Department and law enforcement. Our part of the campaign involves a great flip chart on marine environments courtesy of North Sulawesi?s Bunaken Marine Park, plus a house-of-cards demonstration on the effects of bombing, and samples of different kinds of coral where the coral polyp skeleton is clear. We also leave behind several cartoon, color posters telling the story of a coral reef that is destroyed by bombing. The caption in Indonesian and Gorontalo languages reads, ?Destroying coral reefs destroys the livelihood of fishermen. Don?t let it happen here!?