THESE MEN DIVE UP TO 40 METRES FOR FISH WITH NOTHING BUT A HOSEPIPE TO KEEP THEM ALIVE | Stories | The Coral Triangle
Alex Hofford (alexhoffordphotography.com)

THESE MEN DIVE UP TO 40 METRES FOR FISH WITH NOTHING BUT A HOSEPIPE TO KEEP THEM ALIVE

Banner photo by Alex Hofford (alexhoffordphotography.com)

Pa'aling is perhaps the most dangerous method of fishing on earth. Compressor diving - where air is pumped through flimsy plastic hosepipes to divers under the surface - is common throughout the Coral Triangle, but Pa'aling is practised exclusively in the Philippines, predominantly around the island of Palawan in the western Philippines. The difference is in the number of divers and the method. Pa'aling sees scores of divers descending together amidst a tangle of breathing tubes and manoeuvring nets over huge shoals of fish, mostly skipjack tuna. Serious injuries and death are all too common. Usually four fishing boats are used, all equipped with rusty compressor engines and each carrying around 25 divers. There have been numerous reports of child labour connected to pa'aling fishing. Pa'aling is tolerated by the authorities, because it replaced an even more destructive fishing method known as muro-ami, where rocks attached to large nets are repeatedly smashed into coral reefs to scare fish out and into the waiting net. Photographer Alex Hofford is one of the rare few to have witnessed pa'aling firsthand as these stunning images demonstrate. www.alexhoffordphotography.com


Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford
Alex Hofford

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