On July 24 Nokome Bentley wrote:
>I would be grateful if anyone could pass on information >concerning blast
I was a biologist with the Office of the Chief Conservationist (Bob Owen) in
the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Micronesia) from 1975 to 1978.
There was extensive blast fisheries taking place on the reefs around Palau.
Local fishermen were extracting powder from an abundance of left-over WWII
shells common on many of the islands, packing it into coffee cans and
exploding it to kill reef fish. We did a small aircraft fly over in early
1975 and compared crater marks on some sections of the reef with photos of
similar areas taken in the early 1950s by the US military to determine what
level of damage had been done in the preceeding 25 years. It was fairly
extensive in some areas easily accessable to local fishery centers, but much
less prevlent in more remote areas. We conducted an education program and
got several laws passed that eliminated or at least greatly reduced the
activity during the next two years. It is interesting that the local
fishermen had an abundance of fish available for other fishing methods (net,
spear, handline) but thought blast fishing was easy and did not believe it
resulted in permanent damage until we displayed the comparitive photos at our
seminars in each village. The original data and photos may still be
available through the Marine Resources Division of the Republic of Palau.
Regards, Jeff June
Natural Resources Consultants, Inc.