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CR Surf News for September, written for the Beachside Resident, 9/06

One of the best surf breaks in the world may become too dangerous to surf due to sharks and pollution. Pavones, a left point wave that can break over 700 yards, is only a few miles from a proposed tuna farm, scheduled to be created in 2007 near Punto Banco. Here is a letter received from the Tiskita Foundation last week, although this issue has been in the spotlight since 2005.

From a July article in - " The first stage of the project would consist of installing 10 initial cylindrical net cages where tuna would be cultivated. The footprint of the installations would cover 12 square kilometers just one kilometer off shore from the town of Punta Banco at the mouth of the Golfo Dulce. However, the company wants to install net cages from Punta Banco all the way to Punta Burica. This would further the industrialization and destruction of the region which is currently famous for its pristine environment. The groups opposing the project denounce the complete lack of transparency in the process of approving the project.

The communities which would be most directly impacted by the tuna farm, such as Golfito, Pavones, Punta Banco and Caña Blanca, the latter being an indigenous reserve, were not consulted by SETENA (the group that must approve all projects that affect the environment). Local fishermen, sports fishing operators, as well as tourism and ecotourism groups were kept out of the process. Local NGOs working with community members for decades to promote conservation of the unique biodiversity of the region were also not consulted.

In addition to the lack of transparency, national law was violated when the project was approved because the Environmental Impact Study does not contain risk assessments.

There are multiple irreversible risks that groups note were completely left out of the so called environmental impact study, such as red tides, death of sea turtles and dolphins, reduction of already diminished tuna stocks, parasites from imported tuna feed, and negative impacts on the two most important industries of the gulf, artisinal fishing and tourism/ecotourism. The project would also be an experiment; the cultivation of yellow fin tuna in net cages, has never been done anywhere in the world."

So what can you, the surf traveler that maybe surfs Pavones once a year, do to help? Contact Costa Rica's Tourism Office - Write a letter in to the Tico Times at or the Office of the President of Costa Rica at . Or find out how to send in a donation to the Tiskita Foundation at , the group leading the effort to stop this destruction of Costa Rica's precious natural resources.






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