United Nations
A Holistic Solution for the Eradication of Destructive Fishing Practices in South-East Asia
by Reef Defenders (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
Destructive fishing, is aptly named due to the use of fishing methods that also destroy marine habitat, examples include fish bombing, cyanide fishing and bottom trawling. The destruction of these habitats not only means less breeding grounds for fish, but also the biodiversity of areas frequently used to attract tourists is lost. For many developing nations in SEA this presents an insurmountable challenge in terms of maintaining a delicate balance between the interests of the indigenous fishermen as well as the needs of the tourism industry.

Current effective and sustainable solutions, as supported by peer reviewed science, emphasize a focus on addressing the needs of the indigenous community as the priority. This requires three major points of focus. First is the establishment of sustainable alternative livelihood with environmental education and awareness programs. Second is marine habitat enhancement and reinforcement. Third is science, to identify the resources needed and to guide the effort by monitoring, surveying and measuring the effectiveness of the eradication measures employed.

Since 2014, Reef Defenders have deployed a network of more than 50 blast detectors at 20 sites located in Malaysia, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China) and the Philippines. Over one million blast records have been collected and analyzed. We are currently expanding in Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia.

The underwater blast monitoring equipment used is based on US Government seismic recording technology, adapted for use by Oceanway in 1995. Scientific monitoring consisting of background blast counts, video fish surveys and coral health based on CoralWatch. The initial data collection becomes the baseline. The baseline data quantifies the problem, and resources can then be strategically budgeted for maximum effect.

Collected data analysis provides feedback on the status. When current data is compared to past data and the initial baseline, the effectiveness of any effort or resource spent becomes measurable. Periodically comprehensive environmental reports are produced. This allows for discussions with the authorities and various other stakeholders to review project status, and agree on iterative changes.

Quality of life improvement of the community will be achieved in two ways. First is to establish sustainable alternative livelihoods based mainly on aquaculture, with the technical support of Oceanus. This aims to supplement the income of the indigenous fishermen. This also acts as a buffer for the recovery and restoration of fish stocks and marine habitat. Second, our partner RBC Consultant, a company endorsed by the UNIDO, provides a simple solution for water purification and sewerage treatment, to ensure a supply of clean drinking water.

Thirdly, the indigenous will be involved in marine habitat and area restoration for the benefit of enhancing marine biodiversity. These community projects will serve two purposes. Increase the speed of recovery of damaged or destroyed habitat, and to improve biodiversity so as to enhance areas rather than just conserve them.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Manure management
  • Coastal clean-ups
  • Plastics recovery/recycling/reuse
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • Coastal carbon sinks/blue carbon
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Compliance, monitoring and enforcement
  • Reduction and elimination fishing practices and gear that destroy/degrade marine habitat
  • Science-based fisheries management plans
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
  • Reduction of fisheries by-catch and product waste/losses
  • Eco-labelling, traceability, certification programmes
  • Market-based instruments (Individually Traded Quotas, Vessel Day Schemes, etc.)
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
  • Economic benefits from sustainable tourism
  • Economic benefits from sustainable aquaculture/mariculture
  • Economic benefits from marine biotechnology
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Type of commitment
  • Legal/policy/institutional measures
  • Access to market-based instruments
  • Transfer of fishing technology
  • Access to coastal fishing grounds
  • Access and capacity building for eco-labelling and traceability systems
  • Community empowerment for fisheries management
December 2019
Sustainable alternative livelihood through marine habitat and biodiversity restoration and aquaculture projects
December 2019
90% Reduction of destructive fishing within 2 years of commencement in any area in cooperation with relevant authorities and other stakeholders
December 2020
Expand environmental data collection network and continue to eradicate destructive fishing practices in all areas of operation (Blast, Fish and Coral)
October 2017
Development of a village drinking water system upon commencement
Financing (in USD)
420,000 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
Aquaculture management (Oceanus Group Limited, Castle Seafood Co. Ltd., BNY Abalone World Factory Outlet Pty. Ltd., RBC Consultant Co. Ltd., Takusui Group, Hakuyodo)
Staff / Technical expertise
Staff/Technical Expertise Post Phd. Marine scienctists for data collection and analysis (Oceanway Corporation Limited)
Staff / Technical expertise
Water, Wastewater, Sewerage Purification (RBC Consultant)
Basic information
Time-frame: June 2014 - December 2030
Reef Guardian Sdn Bhd (NGO), Reef Check Malaysia (NGO), Oceanway Corporation Limited (Private Sector), Oceanus Group Limited (Private Sector), Castle Seafood Co. Ltd. (Private Sector), BNY Abalone World Factory Outlet Pty. Ltd. (Private Sector), RBC Consultant Co. Ltd. (Private Sector), Takusui Group (Private Sector), Hakuyodo (Private Sector)
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Adrian Chan, Director, info@thereefdefenders.org, +852 9158 3702
Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China
Other SDGs
United Nations