Pa-aling Fishing in the Philippines is controversial because of its similarity to Moro Ami, a form of net fishing outlawed in the mid ’80s. Both methods involve divers who set up a purse-shaped net on one side of the ocean reef and form a human barrier on the other side. The barrier line then moves over the reef and towards the net, bringing fish along with them.
However, different techniques are used to scare fish toward the net. With Moro Ami, the human barrier hold a rope weighted with rocks. As they move over the reef, the rocks bang against the reef, causing noise and thus coercing the fish toward the net. The divers are breath divers, meaning they do not utilize equipment. In Pa-aling Fishing, however, divers breathe compressed air through long tubes. Instead of using rocks, bubbles generated from their breathing apparatus corral fish toward the net, a less destructive alternative.
Pa-aling Fishing is practiced around the islands of Cebu and Palawan in replacement of Moro Ami.
Photos are taken in the South China Sea, courtesy of Timothy Allen, BBC photographer. Information retrieved from the website article, “Pa-aling Fishing”, authored by Allen, Timothy. Accessed 07 July 2012.