- Costa Rica Passes Total Ban on Shark Finning
- Underwater ROV Trash Collector to Help Clean Up Chicago River
- SCUBA Guide Dies From Tank Explosion in Belize
In a bid to close a loophole in shark finning legislation that was implemented in 2001, Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla signed an executive order that bans not only shark finning in its waters, but the transportation and importation of fins from other countries within Costa Rica’s borders. Chinchilla said in a public statement that she hoped the new ban would set an example for other nations across the globe, but also acknowledged the country’s lag in establishing proper protections in its waters. Violators of the new shark finning ban will face monetary penalties as well as having their fishing licenses rescinded; however, subsistence fishing of sharks will still be permitted, as long as the shark is used for food. The new legislation includes an investment of up to $15 million for a new radar system that will help patrolmen better identify fishing vessels that are breaking the law.
An underwater remotely-operated vehicle called the VideoRay Pro 4 will be at the center of cleanup operations in the Chicago River, a waterway that has long suffered from pollution from trash and other sources. The VideoRay Pro 4 is equipped with a clamp that picks up underwater trash in areas that would pose a significant safety threat to divers, and is operated remotely by computer. It has been used successfully in cleanup operations in bodies of water all over the world. The ROV will be used in a demo presented by environmental group The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean.
In a very unfortunate incident, well-known SCUBA guide Hector Chapin Duran was fatally injured when a tank he was filling suddenly ruptured at the dock of Amigos Mar Dive Shop in Belize. Although no official cause for the explosion has been released, technicians at Belize’s Fabrigas Company, which prides itself on international standards of safety, noted that regulation of safety standards in Belize has been lax, with a strong need for government authorities to apply pressure to the diving industry. Our sincere condolences go out to the friends and family of Hector Chapin Duran.