Blue Eco Blog

Splash! You are in Costa Rica's Blue Eco Blog. Echoing Eco for Oceans and Waters. Giving voice to dolphins and whales, their waves and their waters, and all denizens of the deep. News they think you should use. Dive in.

Dolphin People Episode 1 Osa Costa Rica now on You Tube

clock June 22, 2013 11:39 by author BlueEcoBlog

Dolphin People Show from Costa Cetacea now on You Tube.  Click it to check it. 

 All ocean images from 2013 on GoPro Hero2s, in the blue water pelagic ecosystem of offshore Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Pacific Ocean.

Dive on Dolphin People

No more nets or lines for a Osa Pelagic Park!  EIS before Ocean Drilling!!!  Duh

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVxIqBwewpo&feature=c4-overview&list=UUZBaRfBkz4SPsBdQaa8v-4

 

 

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Gold on the Osa Peninsula

clock September 24, 2012 15:23 by author BlueEcoBlog

Check out this very informative article by Nora M. and O about gold on the Osa that was published the day after our last blog post about gold in the ocean offshore of Osa, Costa Rica.  Guess Crocodile Bay is pretty well informed about gold on the Osa.  Except they left out any underwater history.  We are hoping for another post about the history of gold on the Osa underwater from these gold experts.

Striking Gold: Cultural History of the Osa Peninsula

Posted by on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 with 0

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Pelagic Park’ Would Help Save Spinner Dolphins

clock August 15, 2012 04:20 by author BlueEcoBlog

‘Pelagic Park’ Would Help Save Spinner Dolphins

From The Tico Times, Posted: Friday, September 05, 2008 - By Shawn Larkin

The most hightech, large-scale fishing in Costa Rica’s oceans is commercial tuna fishing.

From hardworking crew and helicopters to radar and satellites, these operations take catching fish very seriously.

They drop enormous nets bigger than a city block into the sea to catch vast quantities of an assortment of marine life. They are after mostly tuna, among the most valuable fish of any denizens of the deep.

When fishing boats find a big group of spinner dolphins, they find some of their ever-present sidekicks: giant yellowfin and bigeye tuna. Mostly seen only below the surface, the tuna would not be so easy to locate without the help of the dolphins, which must surface regularly to breathe. The giant tuna pack together around the dolphins that find their food for them. Here, offshore of southern Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, the big tuna and the spinner dolphins are always together.

I reckon the dolphins think: “Now that the  moon is full, the current is from the southwest at two knots and the wind is calm, a bigspaced swell is coming in from west-southwest, it rained last night and the layers of water temperatures changed a lot, it’s a sunny day, almost high noon, and I think I know where all those other dolphins are going, and the orcas will not hunt today, and the tuna boats will be busy for a few hours – hope my friends and family make it out! – we should go hunt the south end of the Osa drop-off upwelling.”

And I reckon the tuna are thinking just one thing: “Follow the dolphins.”

Follow the dolphins. Just as the seabirds, the sailfish and the marlin, the sharks and the whales, the sportfishing captains and the commercial tuna-fishing fleets do. Follow the dolphins; they have the best actionable ocean intelligence. The dolphins have the network. They are always with the food.

In the Osa drop-off upwelling, where dense, cooler and nutrient-rich water is pushed toward the ocean surface, the tuna, birds and other marine life are nearly always with the dolphins. All a commercial fishing fleet has to do is find the birds on a special radar, send up a helicopter or two to check it out and call in coordinates, start corralling the dolphins with the helicopter and explosives dropped from the helicopter, put down small, fast chase boats to further corral the dolphins, use the ship to corral the dolphins even more, and then put down a very big net around the dolphins and associated marine life with the help of a special net boat.

If you do this, you get a lot of tuna in the net below the dolphins, and it’s worth a lot of money.

Sadly, this kind of bonanza is unsustainable. The longer-lived, more slowly reproducing spinners will probably die out before the tuna are exhausted, perhaps giving the tuna a chance to recuperate, because once the dolphins are gone, no one will be able to find the tuna. But how will the tuna find food without the dolphins?

Fishing industry insiders have told me that dozens of spinner dolphins are killed every day by busy boats. They die most frequently when their narrow, smiling mouths get stuck in the holes of the nets. Hundreds more must be manhandled by diving crews and thrown out of the nets daily, lest the nets are damaged.

Other Osa dolphin species, such as bottlenose and spotted dolphins, are somewhat likelier to swim out if a small piece of one end of the net is put down for a while, a procedure known as a “backdown.”

Backdowns do not help Osa’s spinner dolphins, however; they stay in the net.

Tuna fishermen say the spinners are tontos, stupid, because they do not swim away from the ship and out of the net. They seem unable to stop surfing the ship’s waves. The same trait the tourist boats love dooms the poor spinners.

Time for ‘Pelagic Park’

The blue-water pelagic (open-ocean) ecosystem domain of the Osa’s spinner dolphins is probably the most productive ecosystem in Costa Rica, perhaps in the tropical marine world. According to former members of Jacques Cousteau’s legendary conservation ship, Calypso, and the BBC’s top “Blue Planet” underwater cameramen, offshore Osa is the richest tropical blue water they have seen anywhere on the planet (see sidebar).

The dolphins’ domain is an area between five and 20 nautical miles from Caño Island Biological Reserve. The reserve’s waters currently extend only about two nautical miles; this is not enough to protect large animals such as dolphins and tuna. To protect large marine animals, you need a Corcovado or Amistad-sized park at sea.

For many years, around the world, protected marine areas have proven to increase catches in surrounding areas. With a big enough pelagic park, or better still, parks and corridors, tuna-fishing boats could make money in the long term, not just short.

An astounding number of big, amazing  animals live in the Osa drop-off upwelling area and would be protected along with the spinners. Fin, sei, Bryde’s, humpback and blue whales and orcas frequent this little upwelling. Sailfish, marlin, tuna, manta rays, whale sharks, turtles, beaked whales, pilot whales, pseudorcas, bottlenose dolphins and spotted dolphins are found here in some of the highest concentrations in the world.

A special area of the Osa drop-off upwelling, the clearest waters in Costa Rica, would be an excellent place to prohibit commercial fishing, save the spinners and allow boaters and divers to see and snorkel with dolphins and other amazing marine life in the big blue.

Many people in Costa Rica, including yours truly, already benefit greatly from tourists visiting the giant dolphin pods and other marine life congregations off the Osa. But the commercial fishing fleet will end it soon for us all if some sort of pelagic park is not created.

The spinners are dying. There seem to be a lot fewer little spinners now then there were in the past. The pods no longer stretch to the horizon in every direction.

A park is the only solution. Just as Costa Rica has demonstrated to the world the value of protecting functioning terrestrial ecosystems, we can show the world the same goes for the ocean. Costa Rica needs to make peace with the ocean as well as the rain forest. It’s time to set aside a meaningful, not miniscule, part of Costa Rica’s biggest ecosystem: the open ocean.

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Oceanic ‘Avatar’ Playing in Costa Rican Seas

clock August 6, 2012 11:00 by author BlueEcoBlog

To Costa Rica’s local tribes of whales and dolphins, the onslaught of fishing nets and longlines might seem like an oceanic version of the blockbuster movie “Avatar.” The film follows a clan of indigenous aliens on a fantasy planet as they defend themselves against big scary machines and greedy creatures from somewhere else. The tribe lives fully connected to local natural ecosystems, helping to perpetuate them into the future. The outsiders want to destroy ancient systems for quick and large profits. Sound familiar? If you were one of Costa Rica’s dolphins or whales, it would.

Head out to Costa Rica’s blue-water pelagic ecosystem offshore of Caño Island Biological Reserve and Corcovado National Park if you want to see really cool-looking, intelligent creatures fleeing for their lives from their ancestral haunts, where giant machines are destroying their self-sustaining world for a few tiny pieces of it. Shrimp nets are like giant bulldozers razing the otherworldly forests of Costa Rica’s deep-sea bottoms. Longline fishing hooks kill magical and fantastic beasts every day, right here. Giant, floating ships assault and indiscriminately kill chiefs and children alike. The only chance this world has is help from the people of planet Earth.

Shrimp trawling and other forms of deep-sea bulldozing must be banned. The ancient groves of mysterious life on the deep-sea floor might as well be another planet for many, but not for shrimpers. They know that if they raze the timeless and intricate deep-reef ecosystems to mud and sand, they can make a tidy profit on some shrimp.

Nobody knows the scope of what’s being destroyed down there, but we do know that countless animals are thrown back to the ocean dead from every net haul. The lines of dead sea life often stretch for kilometers behind each shrimp trawler.

Longline fishing, in which a kilometers-long line with numerous hooks along it floats around catching lots of fish, kills strange-looking billfish and much more every day. Billfish, prized by sportfishers for their fight, stand no chance against long-line hooks. You can find them one after the other, dead and dying, along lines that stretch out of sight. The image of man dominating billfish with a smile, known as the trophy shot, has recently fallen from hunter vogue because taking the fish from the water for the photo can be the death blow to a fish that just had one of the worst days of its life. A new version for Costa Rica might be a shot of the big hunter trying to resuscitate dying trophy billfish that are suffocating from being caught on a long-line hook for too long. There are countless photo ops.

The photo opportunities provided by huge tuna ships are not shots most people want to see. In fact, the ocean dozers will stop operations if cameras are around. The reason is that the tuna ships perpetuate massive dolphin tragedy. If not stopped from dragging their city block-sized nets through dolphin pods, tuna ships will continue to kill and harass some of the largest dolphin congregations known on earth, congregations that are crucial for mixing genetic diversity and thus survival of the dolphin tribes.

The cetaceans of planet Earth are fighting for their lives against greed and myopia. You do not need a sci-fi avatar to hang out with them. Put on a mask, snorkel and fins and head out to the Osa Peninsula’s blue water, and you become a crude dolphin avatar.

And you may then know that protecting the cetacean tribes of Costa Rica from deep-sea trawling, longlines and tuna dozers is something worth working very hard for.

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