Muro Ami (reef-hunters) An illegal fishing practice...
Our islands, The Philippines, is surrounded by blue seas, fertile mangroves and enchanting coral reefs... Out of a Philippine population of 80 million, the roughly 25 million fisher folk are among the poorest of the poor, the depend on marine resources... In the Philippines, many children are working in the fishing industry called the Muro Ami fishing industry. This fishing involves a large numbers of swimmers and divers, who move the net with two detachable wings, in order to catch reef fish.
Muro Ami (Reef-Hunters) is a film that depicts one of the worst forms of child labor in the illegal fishing system. Fredo is the ruthless captain of 150 Muro Ami divers. The illegal fishing is done by pounding and crushing corals underwater to scare the fishes and luring them towards the nets. With a high quota to meet, Fredo forces the divers, who consist mostly of children, to accomplish at least eight dives a day to meet their goal before the millennium. Tired and harassed after the burdening task being given to them, the children have to make do in subhuman conditions in the Muro Ami boat, The Aurora. They sleep in rat-infested bunks and are fed only twice a day. Life above the boat is much worse than the suffering the children encounter beneath the sea. For every dive, a child's life is perilously in danger.
The MURO-AMI net is made up of an enormous bag and two wings that each stretches almost three-quarters of a kilometre. The bag net is secured to the seabed by about twenty young divers, youths that free dive to depths of up to eighty feet to attach the net to the seabed. The children swim along the surface, from the end of the wings, carrying 25 metre long 'scarelines' with attached banners and a rock or 'two-eyed' chain as a weight that bangs on the coral reefs, scaring fish from their protective environment, and driving them with the current into the bag net. The divers then dislodge the net from the seabed, removing the rocks, and at the same time detaching the wings, ready to haul the bag with the fish to the surface. The net is cast up to ten times a day, with children spending extended periods in the water, fighting exhaustion and pushing themselves to the limits of their endurance. The work is extremely hazardous, with children diving without protective clothing or gear, except for home made wooden goggles. Every year children lose their lives, their hearing or are maimed.
Today, fishermen sail far and often stay long in the sea to be able to
bring home anything. And the net is sometimes more than what they need. Dynamites, molotov cocktails and cyanide are oftenly used.
But others use something else. They use young enslaved boys who are usually brought home dead along with their with their catch like
Jingo,14, Asmi's grandson, a victim of muro ami and who now lies
lifeless under the eyes of few relatives holding vigil here.
It is no secret that the illegal fishing practice muro ami is widely
practiced here and in many parts of the country. The practice requires children to dive to often dangerous depths to pound the easily broken corals with rocks or pipes to scare fish into a large waiting net.
Young divers often drown and the coral reefs become devastated.
A similar fishing process which is as destructive and as dangerous is
called the paaling where young divers are required to use hoses attached to a surface air compressor to form a virtual bubble curtain which forces fish out into the nets. Typically, a paaling operation uses 4 boats, each carrying 25 divers.
Muro ami was banned in 1986 after a national outcry when bodies of 100 Muro-ami victims, mostly children who were unable to escape from the nets after diving, were found in a graveyard along the shores of Panlaitan Island in Busuanga of this province.
Philippine law prohibits any employment of children under age of fifteen that separate them from family and school... Thank you and MABUHAY! :D
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Negros Oriental, Philippines