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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Between the Harvest film

The following is a guest post from Scott Drucker, Director of the “Between the Harvest” team. This film documents the legal but controversial harvest of sea turtle eggs in Ostional, Costa Rica. The harvest itself is part of a larger conservation strategy by the Costa Rican Government intended to reduce poaching of the turtles and their eggs.

Between the Harvest” is the story of Ostional, a small coastal town that relies on a legal harvest of olive ridley sea turtle eggs. This short documentary delves into this controversial practice by viewing it through the eyes of these two fragile species. The aim of the film is to create a discussion about conservation and the legality of such a project, and to expose the threats that exist to the olive ridley sea turtle.

If a closer investigation is needed of the harvest, perhaps this particular arribada and this community will help bring attention to the needs of the species in Costa Rica, where the illegal threats posed by humans to the turtles are very real: people are still trashing the ocean, poaching eggs throughout the country, and illegally fishing off the shores of arribada beaches. These human threats combine with those posed by warming waters to create a challenging future for the olive ridley sea turtle. The message is clear: we need to be more aware of how we are treating the ocean and its inhabitants, and truly think about what is best for all species.

Follow this link for a summary of many of the issues as well as an explanation of the arribada and harvesting practices at this beach. We cited one of the top books on the olive ridley sea turtle, Pamela Plotkin’s Biology and Conservation of Ridley Sea Turtles, particularly the report from Lisa Campbell entitled Understanding Human Use of Olive Ridleys.

More information about Ostional and the harvesting practice is also available on the “Between the Harvest” website.
“I realized then that tourists and turtles both have a virtually identical impact on the community of ostional; they arrive out of the blue, bestow untold riches upon the town, and then return to their glorious lives in other parts of the world, thereby leaving the people of ostional no choice but to wishfully burn the days until their beneficiaries return.”

-Adam Beals, former ICADS student

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