A Hong Kong physicist has developed the world's first system for detecting dynamite fishing, which environmentalists and the United Nations believe could lead to a crackdown on the practice. George Woodman, director of the charitable organisation Teng Hoi (Listen to the Ocean), will begin testing the system at the WWF's Hoi Ha Wan Marine Life Centre in Sai Kung today. Divers from the Coral Monitoring Group at Li Po Chun United World College will install the detector at the site. The system uses underwater microphones, called hydrophones, linked to sophisticated computer software that detects the specific pitch explosions make in the water. The device can detect explosions up to 100km from the site using sonar technology. The United Nations Environmental Programme is backing the new technology and has promised US$210,000 funding. Dr Woodman said dynamite fishing was still carried out in the waters around Hong Kong and was widespread throughout Southeast Asia, particularly in remote areas that were difficult to monitor. Even if patrol boats intercepted a suspicious boat, the criminals would dump the explosives over the side of the boat to avoid being prosecuted. Abdul Rahman Ridzwan, from the University of Malaysia, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology scientists have also helped to develop the technology. Dr Woodman has been working on it since a 1994 trip to Sabah in Malaysia, where he was told authorities were powerless to stop poachers turning beautiful reefs into rubble. 'These pristine reefs are being bombed out of existence across this region,' he said.