Simon Cumbers Media Award 2016
In conjunction with Irish Aid and Newstalk, I went to Tanzania to document on dynamite fishing along the Tanzanian shorelines. The consequences of blast fishing wreak havoc with marine eco-systems. One of the main problems with dynamite fishing is that it not only instantly kills all aquatic life within a 30 metre range, but that it also kills off fish eggs, larvae and coral seeds and so it has a generational impact on all future growth and aquatic life. The causes of Tanzania’s reef destruction are linked to the following: poverty, lack of awareness with resource users, lack of education and movement from rural to urban areas. There is no official word for “coral” in the Swahili language. The nearest interpretation uses the word “stone” which gives a definitive insight into how coral reefs are viewed culturally.
Pollution from urban towns and natural weather conditions contribute towards coral bleaching and reef degradation. There is another socio-political aspect to the practice of blast fishing. Farmers who use traditional methods of fishing now claim that their livelihoods are threatened due to decreased fish populations.