I was testing some underwater equipment on Camara Island when I heard a muted blast. To my horror, an unmarked white banca was floating on the water nearby, and I witnessed another blast before some men jumped into the sea, a white hose trailing behind them. I swam closer to investigate, but did not want to get too near, in case they saw the camera as a threat. As I neared the banca, a boatload of weekenders who were visiting the island pulled up alongside the fishing boat. They too jumped in and collected the dead fish.
This happened on a Sunday, when the island was inundated with vacationers. The banca was blasting within sight of the Philippine Coast Guard detachment located in San Antonio, Zambales. There was a young boy on the boat with the men. The boat was unmarked. My sources say the white unmarked boats come from San Miguel, a fishing village nearby.
I’ve heard a story about an old man from San Miguel who tried to turn people away from dynamite fishing, and had his boat destroyed. He is a scuba diver, and was just trying to protect the reef from further destruction. He remembers a time when manta rays were a common sight on a dive. Now, San Miguel has no reef, and no fish, and the fishermen need to go further, to plunder other reefs for fish.
What is this world we live in, where people don’t think about the consequences of their actions?