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The Online Magazine for Sustainable Seas
January, 2001 Vol.4 No. 1

How to detect fish caught by explosives






ish caught by blast fishing show telltale signs that law enforcers use to pin down blast fishing suspects. Under Philippine law, the possession of such illegally caught fish constitutes prima facie evidence that a fisher, boat operator, boat official or fish worker is engaged in blast fishing. In the Philippines, fish caught by explosives often include the following species:

English name (Philippine name)
1. Striped Mackerel (Alumahan)
2. Banded Barracuda (Asogon)
3. Long-finned Mullet (Banak)
4. Convex-lined Theraponid (Bagaong)
5. Common Porgy (Bitilla)
6. Black-tailed Caesio (Dalagang Bukid)
7. Denticulated Caesio (Dalagang Bukid)
8. Golden Caesio (Dalagang Bukid)
9. Plump Caesio (Dalagang Bukid)
10. Anchovy (Dilis)
11. Round Scad (Galonggong)
12. Short-bodied Mackerel (Hasahasa)
13. Rudder Fish (Ilak)
14. Surgeon Fish (Labahita)
15. Deep-bodied Herring (Lapad)
16. Grouper (Lapulapu)
17. Big-eyed Scad (Matang Baka)
18. Big-eyed Porgy (Malaking Mata)
19. Snapper (Mayamaya)
20. Hard TaiL(Oriles)
21. Crevalle (Salay salay)
22. Siganid (Samaral)
23. Goat Fish (Saramulyete)
24. Two-finned Runner (Salmon)
25. Cavalla (Talakitok)
26. Black-finned Mullet (Talilong)
27. Indian Anchovy (Tuakang)
28. Stripped Barracuda (Torsilyo)
29. Round Herring (Tulis)

To detect dynamited fish, investigators look for the following:

External manifestations

  1. Blood oozing from the gill cover
  2. Signs of blood effusion are found at the base of the fins, abdomen, vent or anus
  3. Loosening of scales usually at the mid portion of the body
  4. Some internal organs are protruding out of the vent or anus
  5. Mutilation of some body parts

Internal manifestations


  1. Air bladder is ruptured and filled with blood inside the lumen
  2. Blood clots are immediately present above the vent
  3. Spinal blood vessels are ruptured causing internal hemorrhage at varying degrees
  4. Vertebral column is broken and deeply stained with blood

  5. Internal organs are crushed and mixed with blood particles

  6. Some abdominal ribs are either broken or fractured and stained with blood

Characteristics of dynamited fish compared to fish caught by non-explosive methods

Eyes Bright and clear Red
Color Bright Dull
Texture Stiff Soft
Flesh Translucent Reddish brown
Body cavity Normal Bloodied

Fish caught through blast fishing is shown at right. Compare this with fish caught by a non-explosive method (left photo).


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