KOTA KINABALU: Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are calling for continuous funding and participation from the local community to stop fish bombing in Sabah.
Terence Lim, the executive director of Stop Fish Bombing Malaysia, said the focus should also be on helping affected communities find alternative income sources that are sustainable.
He said over the past few years, the group has been partnering with local authorities as well as NGOs from other parts of the world to help stop the destructive activity.
He said it had introduced and tested technology known as shock and blast spotters that helped notify enforcement officers of any explosives under the sea and allow them to immediately pinpoint the location.
“But we need more funding to expand this as Sabah’s coasts are over 2,000 km long, ” Lim said during a Blu Hope of Commonwealth Day webinar on marine life and other environmental issues on Monday (March 8).
Organised by Blu Hope Sabah together with other partners, the webinar is held over 10 consecutive live sessions starting from 9am on Monday.
Among the issues discussed were Fish bomb-free-Sabah, WWF Malaysia Shark Showcase, Launch of Water is Life - Sabah Schools, Launch of ReWild Carbon/Plastic App, Launch of Sabah Plastic Neutral, Commonwealth Observance Day, and the introduction of Blu Hope.
Lim said sea or coastal villages depend on the sea for a living, with many residents turning to fish bombing for easy catch.
“We must help them as they are part of the solution, and they are affected by how this project goes, whether directly or indirectly, ” he said.
Blu Hope Sabah co-founder Monica Chin said alternative industries such as seaweed cultivation, coral restoration and cultivation, as well as eco farming could be introduced to these communities.
Similarly, Blu Hope co-founder Simon Christopher Simon said millions of people do not know how their food end up on their tables and that it is vital to create more awareness on the real situation and engage all communities in stopping fish bombing.
Speaking from his experience outside of Sabah, Stop Fish Bombing USA director of technology Clark Dunson said that apart from individuals involved in fish bombing with the sole purpose of making ends meet, there are also gangs and industrial players involved.
"Gangs terrorise villages and can use up to 100 bombs a day whereas in industrial fish bombings, an estimate of 1,000 explosives are activated per day.
"The damage is extensive with wasted fish, collateral damage, dead reef which means no marine lives at the destroyed area, and injured humans.
“There are some who do not believe that this is happening and say that this is an old phenomenon but this is actually taking off at an exponential rate, ” Dunson said.
Meanwhile, Earth Island Institute director Captain Dieter Rudloph suggested that more NGOs could work together with the authorities for funding and research.