martes, 18 de enero de 2011

Stop! No more Bull Shark fishing in Playa del Carmen

Dear Friends, I write on this blog with a deep sadness due to shark fishing bull (Carcharhinus leucas) in Playa del Carmen.

As we all know, for several years between the months of November to December bull shark pregnant females arrive on the beaches of Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is presumed that these sharks are passing to the wetlands that are further south on the coast of Riviera Maya, in order to find a protected area where they can give birth to their young. This is a fact that has not been able to verify scientifically, why Dive Encounters, Phantom Divers, Saving Our Sharks and a number of marine biologists, including Dr. Mauricio Hoyos designed a project which would be studying and marking by over one month to the sharks in order to learn more about this species in Mexican waters. This project collapsed because different groups of both commercial and recreational fishermen were given the difficult task of fishing in the pregnant females that were in the area of power and treachery and total advantage of this situation, out of the water several specimens at which claimed an amount of money that does not meet even the annual value of what a live shark can only bring economic benefit to our country.

Before talking further about this, I tell them that shark diving is an activity worldwide has been growing by leaps and bounds, which is why I give this example: A dead shark is worth about $ 20. In the Bahamas it is estimated that the tourist value of a shark is $ 15,000 annually. What causes this difference? More and more people prefer to take their vacations in places where there is biodiversity. In fact people are willing to pay more for a marine environment intact. Bahamas attracts 3.2 million swimmers and divers and it is estimated that 40% of the divers will dive with sharks specifically. A dead shark is a small deposit that happens only once, while a live shark brings higher income and repetitively. But one must not only conserve sharks due to economic interest. The main reason must be the conservation of biodiversity. What the Bahamas example shows is that economic interests and conservation are not always opposites.

A part of Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo which is now considered the number one place in the world for diving with this species of sharks. We also have two number one in our country: Guadalupe Island for White Sharks and Holbox and Isla Mujeres for whale sharks. These sites have achieved a harmony between tourism operators and fishermen for conservation and economic exploitation of the species.

For our friends hoteliers and restaurateurs who fear that a tourist is attacked by a shark, I want to talk to the likelihood that you are attacked or eaten by a shark are 1 in 400 million, 400 million for your friends only 1 will be attacked by a shark.

That is why I invite them not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, and both diving service providers, fishermen, hoteliers and restaurateurs work urgently on a plan of conservation and business that includes everyone, to continue this beautiful activit

Gerardo del Villar Cervantes 

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