Muro Ami

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Muro-ami, or kayakas, is a Japanese-inspired fishing technique that is employed on coral reefs in Southeast Asia using an encircling net together with pounding devices. These devices used in this technique usually comprise large stones fitted on ropes that are pounded onto the coral reefs. They can also consist of large heavy blocks of cement that are suspended above the sea by a crane fitted to the vessel. The pounding devices are repeatedly and violently lowered into the area encircled by the net, literally smashing the coral in that area into small fragments in order to scare the fish out of their coral refuges. The technique once devastated the fragile marine life of the Philippines, as the "crushing" effect of the pounding process on the coral heads has been described as having long-lasting and practically totally destructive effects on marine life.


Procedure

The procedure comprises groups of swimmers particularly children that are harnessed to a waiting net loaded down with scarelines like cononut leaves or plastic streamers attached to it at 1 meter intervals to create the illusion of a wall and dragged across the ocean floor as it slowly traps in on the fish. Through vigorous smashing of the reef, fish are forced to come out of their corals. Although banned by the Philippine law nowadays, this brutal and desperate way of fishing are still practiced secretly in Mindanao and some areas of Palawan.

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Citation

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