All fishing methods/practices have an impact on the target resource and may affect also non-target species. Many of them also have an impact on the wider aquatic environment. The "normal" effect of exploitation should not be confused with "destruction".

Destructive fishing refers to any type of fishing technique that destroys fish habitat. These include Dynamite fishing or 'blast' fishing or the use of explosives, spear fishing beach seining, trap/pot fishing and poisoning.

There are many negative effects that result from these practices. Dynamite and other explosive fishing methods destroy habitats and breeding sites for decades. Larger fish are stunned and removed by fishers, but many smaller or less desirable fish die and are left amongst the broken coral. Explosives can also have very serious consequences for the users themselves.


Spearfishing is one of the few fishing techniques where each target is individually selected, so fishermen usually only catch what they want to catch. Unfortunately, where reef species are heavily targeted, local populations of adult fish can be completely removed and this could lead to regional extinction of the species. It is important to note that even slightly touching coral reefs can harm them. Frequent human contact (spearfishing and otherwise) kills the reefs over time.

Beach seining in shallow areas where fish spawn or have nurseries often see a disturbance of the breeding activities and lead frequently to the capture of juveniles.

Interestingly, even as trap gear is not necessarily destructive, the process of setting and retrieving the trap is largely responsible for the destruction of the reef.

Poisons are effective at killing or stunning, indiscriminately, the fish, which are then collected by divers, or through netting and seining. Unfortunately, the poisons kill also other organisms from the ecosystem, including the coral reef-building organisms.

- Nepa

Coral and sea anemones

The following are some ways in which you can help to ensure that our tomorrow has fish for our children and their children:


Do not remove the largest fish you see. Why? Because:

1) Larger females yield more eggs.

2) Larger fishes of some species provide leadership in migrations to spawning aggregation sites.

3) Offspring of larger females of some species have better survival rates.

Avoid using spears near reefs.

What can you do to help?

For Trap/Pot Fishing:

Avoid setting traps on reefs.

Exercise care while setting and hauling traps/pots.

What can you do to help?

For Beach Seines

Allow fishing grounds time to recuperate.

Always use what is prescribed by law.

Release juvenile fish from your catch.

What can you do to help?

For dynamiting

STOP! It is against the law to use "dynamite or other explosive substances with intent thereby to take, kill or injure fish in any water." (Wild Life Protection Act 10 (a))