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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True Costa Rican Wild Animal Stories by Shawn Larkin Strunz

clock October 10, 2012 15:43 by author BlueEcoBlog

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Are tourists keeping Costa Rican dolphins awake?

clock August 30, 2012 09:28 by author BlueEcoBlog

Are tourists keeping Costa Rican dolphins awake?

Dolphins need protected areas and times.

Recent research on Hawaiian spinner dolphins indicates that they need protected times and places. Surprise! One bay is visited by as many as sixty swimmers at a time who try to play with a small group of dolphins. Seems the dolphins rest in the early daylight hours, and that’s when many swimmer tourists head out. Less dolphins may come into the bay and the dolphins might leave earlier than usual when too many people show up. Spinners in Hawaii rest in small groups near shore in shallow sandy bays near deep water. Scientists say these places need protection. Clearly tourists should be told to leave the dolphins alone in the early daylight hours and fishing and extraction should be stopped in the bays. Costa Rican dolphins should have it so good.


Costa Rican spinner dolphins deal with giant nets towed by ships, helicopters dropping bombs, long lines full of hooks, shrimp trawlers bulldozing the bottom, surprise drill ships making a big mess, big banging seismic surveys, cargo ships blitzing by, sport fishers plowing through the pod with lines and hooks, tourist boats gawking, and even some divers in the water. How do you think that effects their beauty sleep?


Don't forget here in Costa Rica spinner dolphins have no protected place at all.


Costa Rican spinner and spotted dolphins, who also rest in the early daylight, need tourists to leave them alone at this time. Sport fishing boats need to stop fishing in the dolphins as they particularly like the early hours of the day. Many hotel managers want tours to leave early to get everyone out of the hotel, but this is the wrong strategy if you are concerned about dolphins. Tourist operators like divers and fishers should put up on their web pages that they leave the dolphins alone in the am. Guests of Costa Cetacea over the years will recall that all tours leave late and respect the dolphins rest time, much to the frustration of some hotel managers. The interactions here in Costa Rica are much more interesting in the PM anyway.


Aloha to the Hawaiians for once again being the world ocean leaders. Lets hope Costa Rica follows.

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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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Tuna Fishing Endangers Dolphins in Costa Rica

clock August 7, 2012 12:25 by author BlueEcoBlog

Dolphins are Costa Rica’s most famous divers – and they have a problem. For decades, in the eastern tropical Pacific, the commercial fishing industry has hunted dolphin species that form enormous congregations, such as pantropical spotted, spinner, bottlenose, common and Risso’s dolphins.

Tuna always school beneath large groups of dolphins, so corralling the dolphins with helicopters and speedboats causes the tuna to form a more easily netted mass below. Unlike most sport fishers who catch a few fish in a sustainable way, many commercial operations set vast nets around dolphins in hopes of grabbing all the tuna possible. This technique has killed millions of dolphins, and continues to kill them as recently as last month off the Southern Zone’s Osa Peninsula.

Dolphin and tuna are often about the same size, and eat the same size of prey. The vast groups of yellowfin tuna constantly following large dolphin groups are led to lunch. The tuna seem to instinctively follow the dolphins, as do birds and other fish, because dolphins will find the food. The big brains of these marine mammals figure to look for chow a few miles offshore of an island, when the tide is high, the moon is full, the wind is clam, the water temperature is just right and the coast is clear, and the needlefish are schooling. The tiny brain of the tuna might just think: follow the dolphin.

Dolphins, being so social and traveling in such large groups, actually create a sort of structure, like a reef, in which smaller fish can hide as well as collect scrapes. Many species of fish, besides tuna, cruise in groups with the dolphins, including silky sharks, blue marlin and sailfish.

We call this famous phenomenon the tuna-dolphin association of the eastern tropical Pacific, not because it’s just tuna and dolphins but because huge commercial fishing fleets use dolphins breathing at the surface to find the tuna swimming below them. Many different species die in the nets of commercial fishing fleets. You may have heard of “dolphin-safe tuna”; this catchy phrase is better described as “some dead dolphin and mixed-species tuna.” The aforementioned catching method, sometimes still used, is “major dead dolphin and mixed species tuna.” As far as I know, none of the forms of massive-scale tuna fishing is even remotely safe for dolphins – some ways just kill less than others do.So, how do the methods differ? One is called a “backdown.” After netting all the tuna and dolphins through the normal process, the ship motors slowly in reverse. This, with the help of a few speedboats, lowers a part of the net down below the surface. Hopefully, the freaked-out dolphins will then swim out. Sometimes they do. Sometimes boats chase them out. But if the tuna follow them, the net is quickly yanked up. All the while, daylight is fading, the crew and workers are on the clock, and fuel is being guzzled. This is “dolphin-safe” tuna. Other methods don’t even use a backdown.

Waiting to catch the tuna when they are away from dolphins requires more time, effort and money, but is the only way to ensure dolphins are safe from slaughter. Reportedly, some boats do not set on dolphins, but until tuna consumers make this distinction, the prices of unscrupulous competitors will hurt the real “dolphin-safe” businesses.

Dolphin tourism can sometimes be at odds with commercial fishing interests. It makes it a little harder to surround a group of dolphins with helicopters, speedboats and a factory ship when a happy group of photosnapping tourists is in the way. On rare occasions, frustrated pilots in rickety helicopters that look more like lawn mowers than aircraft will attempt to drive off the people by buzzing a tourist boat near dolphins. If you are rooting for the dolphins, you can stay with them until there is not enough daylight for the time-consuming process of chasing and netting.

Why don’t the dolphins just smack a few boat captains on the head as they jump over the nets and swim away giggling? Because, like humans, dolphins, once they start to panic, are not so smart. Ancient instincts, such as freaking out, take over. And, as with humans, being in large groups makes panic worse. Dolphins are used to vast spaces; a net causes panic, and they just don’t think to jump over.

I wonder how commercial fishers will fare once the big pods are gone. This may sound distressingly familiar if you know about the vast herds or flocks of animals, such as American bison and passenger pigeons, which have disappeared on land and in the air. As the buffalo once did, the dead dolphins rot in waste or fall to scavengers, and, as with the passenger pigeons, a point may arrive when the population crashes suddenly to extinction.

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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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Communication with Dolphins

clock June 23, 2012 13:54 by author BlueEcoBlog

 Communication with Dolphins on video. Listen to the spinner dolphin super-pod sing human notes. Shawn Larkin is into his second decade of interacting with this resident spinner dolphin superpod and as you can see they will swim right over to people who have been respectful and creative consistently. This offshore open ocean dolphin pod has been attacked and netted for many decades. This video shows that a different relationship is possible with the dolphin super-pods, one that may prove to be much more valuable than killing them as bycatch for easy tuna fishing.

Stop putting lines in the water before you argue against people in the water, duh! otherwise you have no moral high ground. Just obvious greed.

Learning how to interact with the super pods of dolphins is the best chance on earth to understand alien society and intelligence, and how we can interface. We need to learn how to meet and greet all over the worlds oceans. This is crucial practice for the human race. What if we are the helpless species trying to beg a more powerful one to stop killing us as bycatch or for consumption?

Music is a part of the the start to the crucial dialog. And gear and boats and computers and technology and people.

Stop the netting and start swimming.

Make money from creation not destruction.

Help the human race advance.

Play with dolphins.

They will teach you.

Thank you to Denise Herzing for many years of ideas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIKWtND2xgI


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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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United States says Eastern Tropical Pacific dolphin death numbers are among the largest documented in the world

clock June 15, 2012 15:40 by author BlueEcoBlog
United States says Eastern Tropical Pacific dolphin death numbers are among the largest documented in the world.

Costa Rica shown to participate in one of the largest dolphin killings in the world!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association of the United States estimates at least one thousand dolphins dead each year.

Costa Rica should really stop doing this.

Here is the link to the NOAA page.
http://swfsc.noaa.gov/textblock.aspx?Division=PRD&ParentMenuId=248&id=1408

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