Ex-Bomb Fisher


“KA-BOOM!! A cheese grater on my soul. Thousands of fish, pristine coral and millions of marine organisms instantly turned to mush.”

This is from the first article I read about the destruction of the Indonesian marine ecosystem, being blown to dust, by bomb fishers. I got in touch with Oscar award winning Shawn Heinrich; he truly inspired me to apply my skills and try to take matters into my own hands. Shawn put me in touch with locals in West Sumatra, Indonesia, who have to deal with bomb fishers blowing up their reef on a day to day basis. This was the first step of my journey.

To put it in to perspective, the conventional way of fishing with a $2000-$4000 boat, 30 crew members, a hand made fishing net (around 500m-1000m long), at sea anything from 3-7 days, will harvest around 7-12 ton of fish. A bomb fisherman will pay $25 per bomb, and the boat that they predominantly use, is a small single engined $200 boat with a crew of 2-3 people. Armed with a sonar they can catch up to 7 ton of fish with two bombs. The comparison speaks for itself.

With the coral reef, the backbone of tropical marine ecosystems being systematically destroyed, local fish resources are being irreversibly depleted, along with squandering the potential for the massive income from the utilisation of world-class marine tourism resources (surfing, diving, fishing etc). The problem is not limited to the Mentawais. The UN Environment Programme reports that 86% of Indonesia’s reefs are at serious risk of being completely destroyed in this way.

When queried about the reef, and the harm that is caused every time a bomb is thrown into it, the response is often a smile followed by shrug and an illegitimate excuse that there is enough reef anyway.

This was a clear sign that there is a serious lack of education with regards to the current state and future of this planet.