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Illegal fishing has no room in Gorontalo, according to Gorontalo’s governor.
A New Task Force Inaugurated
On 21 April 2018, Governor Rusli Habibie established a new task force to fight illegal fishing. The Indonesian Navy, the Marine Police and provincial prosecutors compose this task force. Representatives of these institutions received their official commission from the governor. He gave special hats to team members.
“I do not want people here involved in illegal fishing. If they are, they will be arrested and prosecuted,” stated Mr. Habibie. Illegal fishing wrecks the environment, negatively affecting marine life, especially coral and fish. Thousands of local people attended the ceremony. Libuo Beach in Pohuwato Regency served as its location.
Gubernatorial Decree Number 83/24/II/2018 forms the legal basis for the new task force.
“Insya Allah with the existence of this new task force, fish stocks will be protected for the future welfare of the people,” concluded the governor. The governor charged the team to give maximum effort to guard Gorontalo’s marine ecosystems. They must prevent any fish bombing, the use of long tiger nets and the theft of fish by international agents.
The team also must provide education to local fishing communities. This includes fishing within a certain distance from the shoreline. Distance helps guard areas closest to shore for environmental reasons and for marine tourism. The team has six prime tasks. Two are providing guidance and education to local fishing communities. Also, they must increase community awareness of marine fisheries laws. Additionally, they must patrol and identify any illegal fishing activities. Finally, they must analyze and evaluate all relevant data.
Destructive Fishing Practices
Certain destructive fishing practices are illegal. Bombing is one form of illegal fishing. A person will use fertilizer composed of nitrate to fill a small bottle. Inside is a small fuse. If it is lit, it will quickly explode. When thrown into the ocean at the right time, many fish will float to the surface. However, most of the fish fall dead to the ocean floor. The coral is blown to smithereens. No bombing has occurred in areas where Miguel’s Diving takes guests for diving.
Sometimes, a fisherman will put cyanide poison into a plastic bottle. He will often then use a surface compressor to dive. This allows him to find prize fish like Napoleon wrasse. A squirt of poison in its face will cause the fish to lose consciousness. That way the fish can be caught alive and transported to a holding tank. However, smaller fish will die after contact with the poison.
The use of a surface compressor is also an illegal fishing method. A team of compressor divers will drag a long net along the reef. They are able to catch almost all the fish in a certain location in a couple of hours.
The Public’s Role in Fighting Illegal Fishing
Miguel’s Diving has long played a role in protecting the marine environment in Gorontalo. We have conducted awareness campaigns on the necessity of protecting coral reefs. These took place in schools, village meeting halls and front porches in fishing villages all over Gorontalo Province.
Miguel’s Diving continues to form friendly relationships with local fishermen. We agree not to allow fishing from our boats, including spear fishing. We buy fish from fishermen at the local market. Our guests can easily confirm this positive relationship by seeing all the waves to and from local fishers.
Social media posting proved a crucial factor in prompting the governor to form the new task force. Several times during the current dive season, guests of Miguel’s Diving witnessed first-hand large teams of compressor fishermen at several dives sites. Guests uploaded photos and live videos of the illegal fishing. This prompted official action, including arrest and confiscation.
To dive with a socially responsible and environmentally aware dive operator, please book your dive trip with us.