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 Embassy in Costa Rica-How to Visit. Dolphin People #2

clock July 14, 2013 20:46 by author BlueEcoBlog

Dolphin Embassy of Osa Costa Rica. The biggest dolphin embassy in the world?
Cruising Underwater with Dolphins in the Big Blue 
Open Ocean Offshore where others throw giant nets
Swim with Dolphins instead of netting dolphins.
Be safe everyone.
Dolphin Ambassadors-Star Larkin, Vanessa Larkin and Shawn Larkin

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqYdciN1qUA

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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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Offshore Osa Drilling Again in 2012

clock November 9, 2012 13:36 by author BlueEcoBlog

Marine life behavior alters after drilling

From The Tico Times Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011 - By Shawn Larkin
THE BIG BLUE: Dolphins have scattered and no whales have been seen in the area since a foreign research vessel drilled into the ocean floor earlier this year.
Rash of Rashes: A dolphin off southwestern Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula displays a skin rash.

The blue-water pelagic ecosystem offshore of southwestern Costa Rica’s Isla del Caño Biological Reserve and Corcovado National Park took serious one-two punches during the past few months, and it remains to be seen whether things will ever return to conditions of the past. The area around, not inside, the two protected areas is probably Costa Rica’s most critical dolphin and whale breeding and feeding waters. But the whales are gone, and the dolphins have changed. The fishing has been off, and boats are headed elsewhere to find fish.

The first few months of the year shaped up to be one of the best seasons for marine life in Costa Rican waters in recent memory. The cool currents of La Niña stoked a profusion of big pelagic species like dolphins, whales, tuna, turtles and giant mantas. Divers and snorkelers from the Southern Zone reported more giant mantas seen at Caño Island in February and March than in the past 15 years put together. Flights and boats searching for marine life in the area were finding dolphin superpods, groups of dolphins numbering in the hundreds to thousands, all over the area. There were many mating and birthing humpback whales, a large pod of false killer whales, orcas, fin whales and even three blue whales, including a baby, feeding on giant bait balls of small fish brought up from the depths during the normal strong upwelling at this time of year. There were uncountable hectares of turtles, tuna and billfish. There were even a few big sharks.

Then, a giant foreign ship showed up and began drilling deep holes in the ocean floor not far from Caño Island, in the name of scientific research. Within a day, the whales were gone. Search time for dolphins from a plane went from a half hour or less to two hours or more. Most dolphin superpods broke into smaller groups and headed north toward offshore Quepos. Others broke into smaller groups and moved inshore, closer to the coast. Dolphins that stayed in the area developed a strange skin rash.

The spewing ship kept at it for a month. Great areas of waters turned from marine blue to metallic brown and green. The day after the ship left, a new one showed up towing many kilometers of giant air guns blasting extremely loud sounds repetitively. A week later they were still at it. Drake Bay ecotourism and sportfishing boats foolish enough to still be looking in their favorite hot spots were told to leave the area by burly men on a yacht out of Quepos. Scuba divers at Caño Island could hear the giant booms of the guns during their dives.

No environmental impact study was done for the area. No dolphin and whale observers were onboard to look out for cetacean safety. There were no Costa Ricans onboard until someone noticed. Many questions were never answered. No notice was given to area residents of what was going to happen.

Since the drilling, no whales have been reported in the area – the longest period without whale sightings that anglers and guides in Drake Bay can remember. No large dolphin superpods have been seen. The fishing is bad. No wonder so few tourists seem to want to visit the area right now.

This serious lack of ocean oversight has left locals wondering what is next. There are reports of making a permanent drilling riser here and of laying an undersea cable from the mainland to Caño Island and then offshore to the rig.

Let’s hope an environmental impact study is involved and that locals dependent on the area’s marine life are given some notice so they can find new jobs. Because what’s next could be the knockout punch for a good chunk of Costa Rica’s famous marine life: whales, dolphins, turtles – and fishers and divers.

Email costacetacea@gmail.com with contributions to The Big Blue, or check out www.costacetacea.com for more information.

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True Costa Rican Wild Animal Stories by Shawn Larkin Strunz

clock October 10, 2012 15:43 by author BlueEcoBlog

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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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Osa Big Blue Full of Gold to be mined?

clock September 3, 2012 14:49 by author BlueEcoBlog

Future offshore Osa gold mining or other drilling might cause denizens even bigger problems.  Offshore Osa likely has a lot of gold.  The worlds first offshore gold mining operation was off of Sirena, in Corcovado National Park.  Since the park is protected a measley 500 meters offshore, seems like someone might have been thinking about big gold in the deep blue sea of the Osa peninsula.

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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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New Billfish Hero Shot-The Costa Rican Standard for the Future

clock August 7, 2012 09:35 by author BlueEcoBlog

A Different Kind of Trophy Shot

From The Tico Times: Thursday, August 12, 2010 - By Shawn Larkin

It s happened so many times before, but not quite like this.

You pull the thick, taut line until the giant beast is in your arms. Careful: The thing is bigger than you and could explode with movement. You haul up the great animal in a sort of hug as you look up at the camera with your trophy from the sea bravely displayed. Click. Trophy shot.

The human-with-big-fish trophy shot has been played out more times in Costa Rica than anyone can count. But these photos are dying out because sportfishers want to use their resource sustainably, and the old trophy shots hurt the fish when they were hauled out of the water. People were beginning to think the trophy shot was a thing of the past.

Check out the new trophy shot of Costa Rican adventure ecotourism. Everything is the same as the old style, except that instead of on deck, you do it underwater, along the longlines set by commercial fishermen.

There is no catch, just release. You then resuscitate the fish by moving it through the water, great for more shots or even video.

You have to resuscitate the great fish because, for who knows how long, it has swum around in tiny circles at the end of a short line, with a steel hook through its mouth. The animal is so exhausted that it may die. That s why you don t worry so much about the danger of grabbing hold of some of the fastest animals in the sea; you can tell when they don t have much kick left in them.

When you feel the fish start to get a little life back, you let go and move away. The fish angles down to the depths and shakes a bit.

Then it starts to swim away into the blue. Another marlin pulls in alongside the first. It had been circling its hooked partner.

By letting the fish off the hook, you may be helping to generate millions of future dollars for the national economy through future sportfishing and ecotourism.

You move a short swim down the long line and find another short line with a sailfish on the end of a hook, its mate circling. So you do it all again. Underwater, the line runs out of sight with more hooks and giant fish.

When you lift your head up from the water and take your mask off, you see that the longline stretches out of sight, with little white buoys holding up the line every 500 meters into the distance. Many of the fish are dead on the hook, but there are still plenty more live ones to release. They will surely die without you.

You keep at it because you want to see big sharks. Diving along long lines remains one of the best ways left to see big sharks in Costa Rica. But you don t see any big sharks, because hardly any are left. You wonder if, soon, any marlin and sailfish will remain.

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Billfish Foundation Fails to Stop Australia From Making Worlds Largest Marine Protected Area

clock June 18, 2012 13:12 by author BlueEcoBlog

Billfish Foundation Fights Agaist Marine Protected Areas and Loses in Oz.

The voice of the vast majority of ocean users is heard and they are not catch and release billfishers.

Fishers should always have access to most of the worlds oceans, not just for sport but to eat! But the world does need some places in the ocean to be free of nets and lines. Catching and releasing endangered billfish is not sport fishing and not as many people do it as some would have you think.

The crazy well funded, massivly sponsered, internationally super influencial Billfish Foundation took a big wave over the bow when the Prime Minister of Australia, backed by the people of one of the most ocean savy nations on earth, said our oceans are for a lot more than just catch and release billfishing. The Billfish Foundation has waged a campaign against marine protected areas, encouraging members to come out and help stop creation of marine protected areas

 http://news.co.cr/billfish-foundation-fails-to-stop-australia-from-making-worlds-largest-marine-protected-area/8167/

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Dolphins Dancing For Laura Chinchilla Again!

clock June 16, 2012 13:21 by author BlueEcoBlog

Dolphins Dancing For Laura Chinchilla Again!

Costa Rica To Conserve Ten Percent of Oceans.

Latin America's greatest ocean hero, Laura Chinchilla, granted future Costa Ricans a much better chance of sustainably utilizing our Oceans into the future.  The sad free for all of too powerful special interests will now be controlled with vision directed to the people and the future by a new Vice Minister of Aguas and Mares.  Wow!  No thats how you do it!  Seems now the voices of all groups of ocean users, not just the most connected screaming special interests, will have a say.  Now is time for Costa Ricans to speak up about what they know about our oceans, and help conserve it.  Have you heard about the largest dolphin pod in the world, the spinner dolphins of the Osa peninsula and Cano Island?  Aaaa, happens to be they need a park!  They live near to famous protected areas Corcovado National Park and Cano Island Biological Reserve, BUT, they live in waters attacked by nets and lines.  This Park or protected area, needs to be south and west of Cano Island to at least a distance of 30 nautical miles to help these spinners.  NOT just 8 miles from the island as some are saying!  8 miles is not enough to protect the biggest dolphin pod in the world and Golfito and Puerto Jimenez need to make a lot money in the long run from conserving these dolphins, not killing them for short term collapsing profits. 

Three blue cheers for the awesome president of Costa Rica.

Check it
http://www.costacetacea.com/bluewaterpelagicpark.html

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