Tourism, Fishing and Sustainability: Three sides of Curaçao

We are approaching the end of a frenetic week of filming for our documentary about coral reefs and Curaçao. Thursday was packed with interesting interviews spanning a range of topics.

The perspectives of the fisherman Robert Edwin Flameling and Brenda Benjamin from the Tourism Bureau are to some extent at odds with the desires of the scientists and environmental officials. Benjamin said that the island doesn’t have enough hotels, given that tourism flow in Curaçao is increasing and the sector is expected to thrive in January and February of next year.

Flameling took the biologist Aaron Hartmann and Professor Revkin out well before dawn, returned to the dock with three small tuna — representing only enough income to pay for the diesel fuel burned in seeking them. He expressed anger about the runaway coastal development all around the bay where he keeps his boat, about competition from industrial fishing fleets and supermarkets selling frozen imported seafood. And he was skeptical about discussions aimed at establishing the island’s first “no fish” zones.

curacao tuna catch

Aaron Hartmann, who is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson of the Waitt Institute both presented hopeful, but realistic visions of sustained coral ecosystems, built on working with fishermen, divers and officials to develop a consensus when comes to “using the seas without using them up” – Johnson’s Waitt Institute motto.

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Faisal Dilrosun, a special adviser to the Curacao department of health and the environment, said education was vital to increase political pressure for improved sewage treatment, cutting other water pollution and controlling overfishing.

During our interview with Dilrosun, a heavy downpour fell — the first rain in our trip. It was welcome relief from the blazing sun, but forced some improvisation by the camera crew — including using a kicker as an umbrella to protect the camera from getting wet because, as Professor Luskay always says, we have to get the shot!

curacao thurs rain protect

After a lot of hard work, the team enjoyed a night off resting by the pool, sitting by the beach or taking a walk in the town.

Our blog is going to continue to document all the steps of our journey in making Curacao’s Coral Challenge: Reviving the Rain Forests of the Sea. In many ways, the biggest challenges lie ahead, in the editing room, distilling hours of video into a tight, compelling 20-minute film.

The blog is your daily stop to catch up. Also, follow us on TwitterInstagram and don’t forget to like our Facebook page if you haven’t done so. We hope to see you along the way.

And of course watch and share the latest episode of our video blog!


One thought on “Tourism, Fishing and Sustainability: Three sides of Curaçao

  1. Pingback: Dot Earth Blog: By Land and Sea, Curaçao Seeks to Sustain Its Coral Bounty | Trend Inside

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