Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Guess Who the Losers Are

The fish scales flew recently in Costa Rica as fishermen and environmental groups celebrated World Oceans Day by yelling at each other. 

The emotional rancor showed what's at stake from a fisherman's ability to make a living to seeing that last fish into a net.  The details were around a dropped lawsuit that claimed fishermen were killing sea turtles by not using devices that enable the turtles to escape a net.  The fishermen celebrated, loudly, so environmental groups dumped a bushel of other concerns and accusations.

They accused Costa Rica's national fishing organization of aiding shark finning, selling tico waters to industrial fishers from other countries, and setting policy with little regard to science.

The incident has a global reach.  Multiple the knot of problems in Costa Rica -- bottom trawling, possible corruption, bycatch, illegal fishing, woefully few inspectors to enforce rules -- across coastal nations and fisheries around the world.  You begin to understand the oceans' plight. 

I wish it were different believe me, but entrenched ocean problems are alive and well in many places.  Not everywhere, some places are doing great things, but it seems like there are fewer great programs than there are not-so-great programs.  

In Costa Rica, when the very public skirmish was over, even locals could not tell who won.

"But when the tide went out and the heated exchanges died down as attendees made their way towards tables lined with coffee and hors d'oeuvres, it was hard to tell who had been the sharks and who had been the bait," according to Tico Times.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling at the end of the day nobody won, because the oceans lost.

 Image Credit: Tico Times

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