Overfishing and Population growth, Food for 9 Billion. Using dynamite in one the most biodiverse fishing grounds in the world? Bad Idea.

PBS Newshour and APM’s Marketplace, two of my favorite new outlets, had a very interesting story last night on over fishing in the Philippines and how it relates to population growth and family planning, or lack there of. Here’s a quote from the transcript, hit the links above for audio and video. At the very least, it seems as though the people in charge over there know what the problems are. The problem is one of implementation.

SAM EATON, Homelands Productions: The Danajon double barrier reef off of Bohol Island in the southern Philippines is one of the richest marine biodiversity hot spots had the world.

But just a short boat ride away, more than a million people depend on these fishing grounds for their food and livelihoods. Rice may be the staple food of the Philippines, but fish provide most of the protein and daily diet. And as the population of communities like this one soar, nearly tripling in the last three decades, the effect on the reef has been devastating.

Fishermen are resorting to extreme tactics to boost their declining catch.

NAZARIO AVENIDO, patrol volunteer: We capture one boat this morning.

SAM EATON: Nazario Avenido and his group of volunteers operate 24-hour patrols, trying to protect their local fishing grounds. Illegal fishing has become rampant. Many use dynamite or cyanide, indiscriminately killing everything within their reach.

Avenido has confiscated more than 50 boats and hundreds of illegal nets in recent years.

Today, he seized this boat. Its owner, who escaped capture, was using a banned net that wreaks havoc on spawning grounds and sensitive corals. Avenido says the violators aren’t bad people. They’re just hungry.

NAZARIO AVENIDO: Because there is no other solution, especially when they are a very poor family.

SAM EATON: Poor in a country that has one of the highest population growth rates in all of Southeast Asia, every year adding about two million more mouths to feed.

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