A Quarrel Over Sea Turtles in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

The Ostional Wildlife Refuge, located in Guanacaste, is the only place in Costa Rica (and perhaps in the world) where sea turtle eggs can be legally harvested by the community.

This is authorized by Public Law 7064 of 1987, specifically article 55, which establishes a collection quota and allows the sale of eggs laid by Lepidochelys olivacea. Although this law creates a unique symbiosis, not all conservationists agree with it.

An incisive letter on the issue above was recently penned by Geovanny Galdamez Serrano, a Biology student at the National University, and published by online Guanacaste news site Primero en Noticias.

In his letter, Mr. Galdamez chastises recent declarations made by Luis Diego Marín Schumacher of Preserve Planet, a prominent media organization dedicated to spreading the message of nature conservation and environmental protection.

Mr. Marin proposes that the law authorizing a certain amount of sea turtle egg harvesting in Playa Ostional should be repealed.

The relationship between the Playa Ostional community and the Pacific olive ridley sea turtle that massively arrives in Guanacaste during nesting season has been previously reported on by the Costa Rica Star:

The Playa Ostional locals who jealously guard the massive arrival of female Sea Turtles to the beach are quite aware of Wood Storks and their penchant for eggs and hatchlings.

[…] nature conservation activists and local protectors of marine life in Costa Rica are choosing one wildlife species over another. The species in question are the beloved Olive Ridley Sea Turtle and the insufferable American Wood Stork.

Mr. Marin is not the only person opposed to the taking of sea turtle eggs at Playa Ostional, but his leadership of Preserve Planet could certainly be influential in this regard. In his letter, Mr. Galdamez calls attention to how the funds realized by the sales of a small percentage of turtle eggs are reinvested in this Guanacaste community where poverty and unemployment are rampant.

He also calls attention to the growing number of sea turtles arriving each year. Mr. Marin, however, does not agree with this symbiosis and categorizes the taking as poaching.

Source | news.co.cr