Thursday, November 27, 2008

Finding the Truth - Cocos Island

Sharks, marble rays, dolphin, turtle... These are some of the wonderful creatures divers dreams of seeing during every dive. Never would a diver ever dream of seeing ALL of these animals in one place... On a longliine... Dead.

Right now there are reports of pregnant sharks found on these longlines as well as\ other megafauna at Cocos Island, Costa Rica. The illegal fishing is increasing, as the ocean's apex predators are decreasing. These reports are disheartening, hence we are taking matters into our own hands.

"We cannot stop this activity,unless we can show local people the beauty and importnce of an intact Cocos ecosystem. We also need to provide viable economic alternatives." says Georgienne Bradley, Imaging Foundation's executive director. The Imaging Foundation is packing up and leaving for Cocos Island tomorrow. The team is eager to get in the water to witness first hand what is going on.

Stay tuned as IF reports their findings. . We believe knowledge is power and power comes in numbers; so tell your friends about our story and check back often!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New pizza place opens, offers shark as a topping

New pizza place opens, offers shark as a topping

DESTIN -- When they get a shark-sized appetite, why not take the family where the locals feed

Destin's new Landshark's Pizza has a fin up on the competition when it comes to pushing out brick oven pizza worth writing home about.

Longtime Destinites and self-professed country boys David Hooten and Tom Shelton decided that the quiet period between the tourists leaving and the arrival of the Snowbirds would be perfect for the soft opening of their family friendly pizzeria to open its jaws to the locals.

The economic timing seems a little off for a business to open, but Landshark's has pretty tough skin.

"No matter how bad the economy might seem, people are gonna shop for a value and they aren't gonna stop eating pizza," Hooten said. "The generation coming up was raised on pizza, and people will still continue to go out to eat at a great place for an affordable price."

Landshark's claim to fame is right in their name.

"What we hang our hat on is a mako shark pizza," Hooten said. "It's made with real mako shark bought straight from Destin Ice."

The shark pizza has mako shark bits that are fried up and put on a pie with alfredo sauce, onions and mushrooms.

The multi-talented artist, surfer and pizza chef, Adam Bayard, 27, also serves up alligator pizza that 99ROCK describes as a "Cajun slap in the face."

"The idea is you can only get this in Destin," Shelton said.

Landshark's is also an ideal place to catch football and baseball on six 42-inch plasma TVs in a clean and cozy nook where the crew knows the regular lunch crowd by name.

Hooten and Shelton pride themselves on running an original, not franchised, local's retreat that serves up a fun menu that won't make the wallet cry.

"We built this from the ground up and hope to open more up and down the Emerald Coast," Hooten said.

Landshark's Pizza will have their grand opening Saturday at 1 p.m. The restaurant, located at 763-2 Harbor Blvd next to Old Time Pottery, also delivers. Just call 42-GOPIE. Z96 will be on hand to give away Georgia Tech tickets.

Reprinted from:
Florida Freedom Newspapers
By Jenni Rich

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Protesters Blocking Princess Cruise Ship from Docking in Costa Rica

Reprinted from USA Today
By Gene Sloan

The Coral Princess this week was blocked from calling in Costa Rica for a third time by fishermen protesting new regulations.

A spokesperson for Princess Cruises tells USA TODAY the 1,970-passenger vessel once again had to turn away from the Costa Rican port of Puntarenas after fishermen in industrial fishing boats barred the entrance. The fishermen are protesting a law that bans shark finning -- the practice of removing the fins of sharks while still at sea.

Princess' Julie Benson says the line has sent a letter to the Costa Rican Minister of Tourism expressing its concern over the recurring incidents. "We have have been in ongoing discussions with Costa Rican officials on this issue and are hopeful it can be resolved with no further disruption to our calls there," she says.

The incidents come in the wake of unrelated protests on the island of Roatan, Honduras, that have caused several ships there to miss port calls in recent months.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuna Farm Threats in Costa Rica

Last November 5, the Technical Secretariat of the Environment of Costa Rica (Setena) issued a resolution calling for the operation of Tuna Farms of Golfito to continue with its execution. The project, which consists of the installation of 10 cages that will fatten up to 120 tons of tuna per cycle, was suspended by order of the Constitutional Court on May 9 of 2007, due to the serious inconsistencies found regarding the threat of polluting the delicate ecosystem of the Golfo Dulce, and the impact on sea turtles. Setena had declared that the project was environmentally viable since August 19, 2005.

In order to elucidate the inconsistencies that the Constitutional Court pointed out, Setena requested the technical criteria of the Center for Marine and Limnological Research of the University of Costa Rica (Cimar). In the report, submitted last September 30, Cimar underlines that to predict the possible destiny of wastes and served waters with more certainty, a much more comprehensive study regarding ocean currents is needed than the one that was submitted in the Environmental Impact Study. Furthermore, it points out the need for a Plan of Action to deal with the sea turtles and whales that use these waters.

According to the Costa Rican NGO Pretoma, which filed the Constitutional Law Suit to stop the installation of Tuna Farms together with the Association of Neighbors of Punta Banco, Setena granted the environmental viability without having elucidated the inconsistency described by the Constitutional Court regarding the ecological impact that the Tuna Farms may have on the Golfo Dulce. To make matters worst, Setena doesn't even acknowledge that sea turtles nest in the area, in spite of the fact that for the last 11 years Pretoma has been doing sea turtle conservation projects in the community of Punta Banco, an olive ridley sea turtle nesting site located directly in front the area that the proposed Tuna Farms will occupy.

"The Constitutional Court had already expressed that Setena was in the obligation of ordering the performance of studies to previously guarantee, and with an acceptable degree of certainty, that the metabolic wastes produced would not affect the environment nor the delicate ecosystem of the Golfo Dulce", informed Randall Arauz, President of Pretoma, "The requested studies still haven't been performed, nor have the contaminant issue been elucidated, because of which the recommendation to continue with the execution of the Tuna Farms is contrary to the order of the Constitutional Court", explained Arauz.

According to Miguel Gómez, Pretoma's Campaigns Coordinator, sea turtles are under serious threat, as the structures with the cages would attract the sea turtles that visit the beaches of Punta Banco, Estrechura, and Río Coco to nest, and would interrupt the hatchlings on their way to the open sea. "We still don't see a serious plan to mitigate the impact of the Tuna Farms on sea turtles, but if Setena won't even acknowledge that sea turtles nest on these beaches, what can we expect?," said a disappointed Gómez.

On November 11 of 2008, Pretoma filed suit to revoke Setena's resolution, as well as an appeal to the Ministry of Environment.

Randall Arauz

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Check out the Imaging Foundation's response to a recent Conde Nast Traveler article about shark fin soup!