A lobster tale from the Mosquito Coast

McClatchy Foreign StaffFebruary 20, 2014 

White Lobster from david lale on Vimeo.

What do the fishermen in Central America do when the fish run out?  For some fishermen along Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast, it's time to look for windfall cocaine, known as white lobster locally. Smugglers on the high seas occasionally jettison packages of cocaine when they are being pursued by the U.S. Coast Guard or other law enforcement. The cocaine drifts ashore or floats at sea. This phenomenon began in the early 1990s. I once visited Puerto Cabezas, the second largest town on Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast, as crack cocaine was really taking hold. What began as some packages of cocaine washing ashore devastated the community. This short documentary above conveys many aspects of the phenomenon around Bluefields -- from the windfall discovery to the reformed crack user and on to the dilapidated fishing industry. if you have an interest, it's worth 11 minutes of your time. Catching lobster, by the way, has had an interesting cyclical history off Nicaragua. During the wartime years from 1979 to 1990, the lobster industry lay dormant so lobster beds thrived. Once the Sandinista Revolution came to a screeching halt in 1990, the industry kicked back up. But apparently lobster has been over-harvested now, so the fishermen are growing desperate.

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