Famous for both their difficulty to reach and diving, the archipelago comprises seven primary islands near the centre of a global hotspot of biodiversity known as the coral triangle. Home to a great number of rare marine and terrestrial species, most tourists who come here are divers or snorkellers hoping to see some of the world’s best marine life in unspoiled surroundings.
Are the surroundings unspoiled? Not really. While above the water, the islands are little developed, below the waves it’s a different story. Since the early 1990s, highly destructive fishing methods like dynamite fishing and cyanide poisoning have been widely used in the Togeans, causing a steep decline in fish numbers and immense shallow reef damage.
Sharks, large fish and turtles are rarely seen, especially compared to locations like Komodo National Park, which has seen better (though not perfect) protection. Over two separate two-week trips to the Togean Islands we saw not a single example of boat pilots running snorkelling trips using buoys; anchors were freely thrown onto reefs and, while boat pilots made some effort to stick to already smashed channels, attention was cursory. These are very simple practices that would have a ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,400 words.)