Fisherman in the Southeast Asian region work hard at a self-sustaining lifestyle at a huge cost to the spiraling demise to the areas coral reefs. Some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems are found in these great coral reefs off the coasts of Indonesia and the Philippines and the bounty within has huge commerical appeal. The global demand for the sea life combined with the local area’s ability to create wealth has these reefs quickly being depleted with a devastating lack of hope for the coral reef community’s future in these seas. With most south eastern Asians living in coastal regions and making their living on the reefs the social impact of protecting these coral eco-systems would have an equally depleting affect on the people.
Not only over fished, these reefs which spread across thousands of islands in the region, provide materials for the jewellery trade along with the industry of commercial coral mining for cheap rock meeting a world demand of exporting in excess of 500 tons or coral each year and fast depleting the living reefs of their basis of life.
Suffering from the over-taking by man these reefs also endure the impacts from pollutions, tourism, run off from the shore dwelling populations and industry in the area and more, are all negative factors causing stress on the coral and stressing the reefs ability to self-sustain. The greatest threat is the reef destruction in Southeast Asia in the unethical illegal fishing practices of cyanide and blasting.
Saltwater aquarium fishing to supply world hobbyist also has a large impact on the hundreds of species being unethically chemically drugged and plucked from the reefs and imported annually leaving behind reef damaging chemical kills. This practice of squirting the deadly poison directly into the coral reef to stun the fish reaps a quicker target. The negatives are insurmountable with not only the waters and the food chain poisoned but the prize fish for restaurants and aquariums have a low survival rate in the destruction.
Dynamite fishing has been banned since the mid-eighties but fishermen have found a way to improvise with the use of fertilizers and kerosene heaving bottles full of the explosive mix into the coral reef to gain quick access to surviving fish but in the process killing the coral animal with no hope of re-growth. The downturn of this practice is the decline in the fish population and the food supply to the village families.
Upstream from these deadly practices killing the reefs are human mismanaged pollutants bringing waste run-off from human, farming and industry washing into the oceans and polluting the reef’s delicate habitat and in turn the grasses and shore and sea birds living off the reefs.
With an estimated one third of the area’s coral reefs either dead or dying, the mining and unethical overfishing of these irreplaceable coral reefs in the Southeast Asian seas is under close worldwide scrutiny with heightened protection practices, reef conservation, education and management systems all being developed.