06-03-2004, 09:41 PM
So I am sitting around after dinner the other night and hear that there is this guy at the hotel who is a former commercial rig diver and is in Nicaragua installing recompression chambers. We talk for awhile and he lays his story on me. The gist of it involves taking members of the indigenous Miskito Indian tribe, strapping tanks on their backs and sending them on multiple deep drops with no training. The result is an epedemic of bent men. Towns filled with guys paralyzed from the waist down. Lobster Diver Widow's associations with over 1000 members. Bob gets commercial dive operators to donate old chambers and then faces stiff resistance from the guys who own the lobster operations in getting them installed.
Check out his website
Send him a buck.
08-29-2011, 07:08 PM
A new documentary film entitled "MY VILLAGE, MY LOBSTER" reveals the truth of commercial lobster diving.
To find out more about the project and to watch the film's newly released trailer, go here: http://kck.st/ob2LV5
MY VILLAGE, MY LOBSTER is the powerful and harrowing story of the indigenous Miskito lobster divers along Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast who risk their lives diving for the region's most lucrative resource – the Caribbean spiny lobster. Over the past 20 years, thousands of Miskito divers have become paralyzed and hundreds more have died from decompression sickness, a diving-related condition commonly known as the bends. Through the voices of Miskito lobster divers and their families, as well as boat owners, captains, and doctors, MY VILLAGE, MY LOBSTER tells the story of an industry and a community in crisis.
MY VILLAGE, MY LOBSTER features exclusive testimony from a cast of compelling central characters: lobster divers who have been injured from the bends while diving; boat owners who are responsible for their divers' safety; a hyperbaric medicine specialist who treats injured divers; and diving boat crew members who have witnessed divers die from the bends firsthand. In addition, this film includes exclusive, never-before-obtained footage from aboard a commercial lobster diving vessel as well as stunning verite footage from the remote Miskito Keys – the fabled turtle hunting grounds of the Miskito Indians.
Shooting in verite style, MY VILLAGE, MY LOBSTER chronicles life aboard The Spanish Lady, a commercial lobster diving vessel based out of Puerto Cabezas. Like most commercial diving vessels, The Spanish Lady fishes for lobster with a crew of around sixty to seventy men – twenty-five divers, twenty-five canoe assistants and twelve or more additional crew members – as well as canoes and hundreds of battered SCUBA tanks. Living conditions aboard commercial diving boats are notoriously atrocious, and enforcement of safety regulations is essentially non-existent. Until now, no video footage has existed of life aboard these ships due to resistance from boat owners to prevent film crews from documenting the abuses that take place out at sea.
In recent years, overfishing has depleted lobster populations close to shore, forcing commercial diving boats like The Spanish Lady farther out to sea and divers deeper in search of the declining resource. In order to find lobster, commercial diving vessels must now travel more than fifty miles off-shore and spend twelve days at sea, and divers must dive to perilous depths of over 100 feet, ten to fifteen times a day, with inadequate training and without essential SCUBA safety gear such as depth or air guages. The human consequence of the industry's widespread institutional neglect has been an increasing trend in divers injured from decompression sickness. Decompression sickness results when a diver ascends too rapidly from the depths of the ocean or fails to make decompression stops during the ascent, causing a rapid decrease in pressure. In severe cases, divers can lose consciousness, experience immediate paralysis, fall into a coma or even die.
In June of 2009, divers in Puerto Cabezas protested an industry-mandated 30% wage cut by uniting in the streets, taking the town's mayor hostage and seizing the docks. The government called in additional riot police to protect industry assets from the mob, and boat owners anchored their boats off-shore to protect them from damage. For an entire month, commercial diving boats remained idle and the regional economy stagnant while boat owners, processing plant owners, the police and government agencies searched for a solution. After a month of resistance, necessity forced divers to reluctantly accept a new wage of $2.50/pound of lobster tail—the lowest price since commercial diving was introduced into Nicaragua 20 years ago.
In order to prevent further abuses and unnecessary diving injuries, the Nicaraguan government recently passed a law that would have banned commercial lobster diving with compressed air beginning in 2011. However, industry stakeholders in the region failed to prepare for the economic and social consequences of the industry reform, and were unable to offer any viable alternatives to diving. Just days before the law was set to take effect in February of 2011, Nicaragua's General Assembly approved an extension, and the law is now set to take effect in 2013.
It is the goal of the film to bring the complex social and economic issues facing the Miskito Coast to the attention of a larger audience and foment targeted change that will lead to fewer injuries from a better-regulated lobster industry and assistance for the thousands of men who live paralyzed along the Miskito Coast.
08-29-2011, 07:51 PM
I think you should post this in the general discussion section, i won't mind donating a buck or two to help them out. Any idea when this will be coming out?
08-30-2011, 01:20 PM
I lived in Nic. for over a year on the caribean side on an island and it is true there is alot of that stuff that used to happen . People now know a little more but they still just strap tanks on and go. There sure are alot of lobster there though. I caught many working with a local commercial fisherman but we did it without tanks.
08-31-2011, 04:00 PM
Nicaraguan Lobster divers aren't the only ones that live this way. Maybe just the most publicized. Mexico is worse, from what i've been told by a commercial fish diver.
How would you feel about strapping on a tank, using a ROCK to get you down and coming up when you have no air?
That is scarey!!
09-15-2011, 12:15 AM
This should be posted where everyone can see it especially since lobster season is about to start here in cali, Big business usually equates to money made on someones broken back.
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