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Underwayer Highways

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Underwater Highways

What are the Issues?

Cocos Island, in Costa Rica, is home to a variety of fish such as Tunas, sea turtles, and sharks. These marine animals migrate hundreds of kilometres for feeding, mating, or giving birth. But they are being overfished to satisfy human demands.

Today only about 2-3% of global oceans are protected. Therefore, fishermen catch excessive amounts of fish, until there’s nothing left anymore.

There are a long-line of fishermen that are desperately, targeting sharks to make shark fin soup and other large fish to make money of it. But in the process of catching them, sea turtles are accidently getting caught by the nets fishermen use.

On average, a female turtle, lays about 100 eggs per clutch. But much of it are eaten by Costa Ricans or sold to bars as an ingredient in producing alcoholic beverages. Or to act as an “aphrodisiac”

Hawksbill, one of the most endangered sea turtles species, are getting caught and being killed or drowned due to shrimp trawling.

Shrimp trawling is one of the most destructive methods of fishing. It is used to catch shrimp, by using massive nets, dragging it along the sea floor, in hopes of catching fish and shrimps.

But these nets pick up everything in their path, including sea turtles, even though, they are not the fishermen’s’ target.

This is an extremely inefficient and a wasteful method, killing an average of 10 kilograms of marine life for every kilogram a shrimp costs and killing over 150 000 sea turtles every year.

A technology called the Turtle Excluder Devise (TED) can exclude the turtle from being caught in the nets. Even thought this technology is inexpensive, fishermen do not use them, assuming that it would reduce the amount of fish caught.

But this technology also, has its disadvantages. Using them would exclude the turtles from being caught, but the rest of the small fish are caught and wiped out before they can reproduce, leading to its disappearance.

Why should we care?

Sharks and sea turtles have been around for centuries, even before our human civilization even started.

They play a vital role in marine ecosystems. They have a unique and a diverse diet that can help monitor the health of sea grass and jellyfish populations.

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