Blast fishing takes root in Central America
Illegal blast fishing—the practice of fishing by detonating explosives in the water—is spreading on Central America’s Pacific coast.
The trend is painfully apparent in Nicaragua. Authorities here are trying to educate fishermen about the long-term effects of the environmentally destructive method, in which fishermen drop homemade bombs into the sea to kill entire schools of fish.
But officials report they haven’t made much headway, with fishermen insisting traditional practices don’t yield satisfactory catches. Economic necessity trumps concern about conservation among fishermen in Nicaragua, the Western Hemisphere’s second poorest country. Says 22-year-old fisherman Aaron Medina: “There’s no other way to bring money home.”
In Corinto, home to Nicaragua’s largest port, the blast-fishing industry has taken strong root amidst rampant poverty, a growing supply of homemade bombs and lax enforcement.
“They’re doing a lot of harm,” says Reinaldo Bermuti, an official with Nicaragua’s state-run Institute of Fishing who has been touring Pacific coast fishing towns to teach local fishermen about the pitfalls of the practice.
Explosives are ubiquitous