Stop Dangerous Fishing Practice From Destroying Coral Reefs

Target: Roy Cimatu, Environment Secretary of the Philippines

Goal: End the harmful practice of using cyanide to catch tropical fish for aquariums.

Although commercial fishing for human consumption has received significant attention as an environmental harm, ornamental fishing —  catching fish for aquariums — can also have significant environmental impacts.

Each year, 30 million ornamental fish are captured in tropical oceans, mostly in the waters near the Philippines and Indonesia. Many divers use cyanide to stun the fish to make them easier to catch. Although this is an efficient way to capture fish, it is incredibly dangerous for coral reefs. For every fish successfully captured, many fish are killed and large areas of coral may be poisoned. Cyanide is one of the most poisonous substances that exists: as little as a third of gram can kill a person. Horrifically, scientists have estimated that cyanide fishing practices have resulted in the release of over a million kilograms of cyanide onto coral reefs in the last 50 years.

Although cyanide fishing is technically illegal in the Philippines, the lack of enforcement means that the practice is still very common. Sign this petition to demand that the government of the Philippines strictly enforce laws against cyanide fishing to protect tropical fish and coral reefs.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Cimatu,

I am writing to ask you to increase enforcement of laws banning cyanide fishing in the Philippines. Coral reefs are already threatened by pollution, ocean acidification, and global warming. In the last 30 years alone, about half of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed. Miles and miles of coral reefs, once hotspots of biodiversity, are now underwater deserts practically devoid of life. It is estimated that for every fish caught with cyanide fishing, one square meter of coral reef is irreparably damaged.

Cyanide fishing is not only terrible for the environment, it also threatens the food security of the Philippines. A large percentage of people in the Philippines are dependent on marine resources for income and food. These resources may disappear if cyanide fishing is allowed to continue. Lory Tan, president of WWF Philippines states, “We have cut our fish stocks by 90 percent in the last 50 years. What will we do in 30 years, when the fish are gone and our population will be more than 100 million?”

I am writing to ask that you and your colleagues at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources do all that you can to put a stop to the dangerous practice of cyanide fishing.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: William Warby

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4 Comments

  1. Remember the old adage, “the extinction of one is the extinction of the other.” With the destruction of coral reefs in which so much sea-life depends on, we can guarantee our destruction… one day!

  2. THE OCEANS NEED THE FISH YOU PEOPLE ARE TAKING NOW.

  3. EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL LIKE OCEAN LIFE, WILDLIFE,WILD LANDS,ETC. WILL GO EXTINCT BECAUSE OF GREEDY, WORTHLESS HUMANS.

  4. Lisa Zarafonetis Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & shared

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