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East Capers Issue 59 Jun/Jul 2012

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East Capers is a community magazine published bi-monthly by the Asociación de Artes del Mar de Cortez A.C. For more information about the Asociación de Artes programs go to http://www.eastcapearts.com.
  • Issue No. 59 June/July 2012 Free/Gratis

    Cover photo courtesy of Captain Dave from the Southern Cross

  • East Capers Re-Cycle - Please Pass This Copy On June/July


    East Capers Editorial

    Pay Tribute

    ars will probably not end during my lifetime or even that of my great grandchildrens. Wars have

    been fought in some form or another for thousands of years for hundreds of reasons. I doubt if there has ever been a single year since recorded history began when a war was not being fought in some location about the world.

    As a writer and historian, I read quite a bit of history. Often I come upon the stories of little known wars now lost to time in faraway places where the reasons for battle were obscure. However, there are an equal number of sto-ries where freedom against oppression was the courageous driving force. In many cases, no alternative existed except to fight. Between the ridiculous and courageous reasons for the wars lie the surviving veterans, the wounded, the dead, and those family members and loved ones left to mourn.

    A couple of weeks ago the U.S. celebrated Memorial Day. The holiday has gone through many changes since its first creation as Decorations Day after the Civil War. Now it encompasses all military personnel, past and present, rather than only those that died. From the simple act of placing flowers upon a grave to parades in some communi-ties, we honor our armed forces and remember in our own ways.

    Speaking of those who died in WWII in the Pacific, Admiral Chester Nimitz said, They fought together as brothers in arms; they died together and now they sleep side by sideTo them, we have a solemn obligation the obligation to ensure that their sacrifice will help make this a better and safer world in which to live.

    Wherever you are or whatever country you call home, take a moment to pay tribute to all that have given of them-selves from every race, creed and color, so you may now have the freedom to do as you wish.

    There is no glory in war, only pain and suffering. Even its victory in the end is bittersweet.


    East Capers is published bi-monthly by the Asociacin de Artes del Mar de Cortez A.C., Los Barriles, BCS, Mexico Managing Editor: Walter S Zapotoczny Jr - [email protected] com * Copy Editor: Pako Ford * Circulation Manager: Brian Cummings *

    Community Representative: Jim Stangarone * Foreign Correspondent: JoAnn Hyslop * Advertising & Graphics: Russ Hyslop

    Printed by Imprenta Ciudad Los Nios, La Paz, BCS, Mexico


    Check out the full color

    version of East Capers at


    In This Issue

    The Future of the Sea of Cortez 3

    Medical Tips 5

    8 Summer Exercise Tips 7

    Spanish Characters On Your Keyboard 8

    The East Cape Music Scene 9

    Toast to Summer 12

    Baja Fish Tacos 14

    Songs of Border Conflict 16

    Advertisers Map 17 The Earth Under Our Feet: Part 3 20

    Neem II: Who Knew? 22

    Agua Malas 23

    A Foreign Correspondent in LA 26

    Fish and Crustaceans 29

    How to Select the Perfect Avocado 29

    Advertisers Directory 30

    Letters to the editor are welcome. [email protected]

    Anonymous submissions are not accepted.

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    The Future of the Sea of Cortez By Walter S. Zapotoczny Jr.

    he Sea of Cortez is amazing in so many different

    ways. From the abundance of sea life to the clarity of the waters, our backyard is host to amazing

    fishing, scuba diving, beautiful views, and more. Legendary diver Jacques Cousteau once described the Sea of Cortez as the "world's aquarium" and the "Galapagos of North America." According to marine biologists, for all that remarkable diversity, the Sea of Cortez is a sea in decline. Cousteau might also have called it Mexicos fish market. Every year the commercial fishing industry takes more than 500,000 tons of seafood from the sea, representing about half of Mexicos fishing economy. That annual catch counts only the fish brought to market. Estimates of unwanted bycatch (fish caught unintentionally) of fish and marine mammals range wildly, from one million tons to three mil-lion tons. The destruction began in the 1930s, when the arrival of outboard motors and gill nets transformed fishing in the region. During the past two decades, the Mexican government has created 11 marine protected areas in the Sea of Cortez. The intention was to promote sustainable fishing practices: gill nets and trawling are banned, and a few small areas have been designated as no-take zones, where fishing is com-pletely prohibited, at least in theory. Tim Folger of On-eEarth Magazine writes, In practice the laws are largely ignored. Shrimp trawlers do the most damage. For every pound of wild shrimp caught, trawlers kill as much as 40 pounds of bycatch. Using nets weighted with heavy chains that dig as much as a foot into the sea floor, the trawlers scrape virtually any seabed shallower than 300 feet, dredging the bottom year after year in a maritime version of clear-cutting. The wild shrimp fishery in the northern Sea of Cor-tez has virtually collapsed. In the last several decades, five species of sea turtle have all but disappeared from these waters. Almost without exception, the protected areas in the Sea of Cortez are not rebounding. For the past 14 years, marine biologists have been making careful surveys of cru-cial habitats here, counting the number of species in se-lected areas almost yard by yard. The data are grim. Recov-ery efforts, hamstrung by lack of enforcement, have largely failed. In almost all the Sea of Cortez, even where it is pro-tected, the sizes and numbers of fish today are less than 10 years ago. Fish have completely disappeared from some reefs in the northern part of the sea. The absence of grazing fish may explain why bacteria now cover the reefs, a phe-nomenon referred to by some researchers as the rise of the slime. Thousands of illegal vessels are in operation throughout the gulf, and poaching is common. Honest fishermen strug-gle to make a living. Perhaps the biggest problem confront-

    ing the current conservation effort is that the 11 existing protected areas of the Sea of Cortez are too large to patrol with limited resources. The islands and protected areas of the Gulf of Califor-nia were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005. To preserve the ecosystem in this area, the Mexican gov-ernment has established various projects. A marine obser-vatory bearing the name of Jacques Cousteau was estab-lished in La Paz in 2009.1 The aim of the observatory is to become a key element in coastal management in Mexico by monitoring the changes of the local ecosystems with par-ticular attention to climate change impacts. This enables the area to be protected and possibly receive funding for con-servation projects. In addition, the Mexican government has been promot-ing the Sea of Cortez as a tourist attraction and home for various water activities. The most aggressive of these pro-

    jects is the Escelera Nautica (Nautical Ladder) project.2 It is a massive construction and upgrade package, involving full-service marinas, many of which will be constructed from scratch. The majority of the focus is on nautical and mari-time improvements with the hopes that the resulting boost in tourist-related dollars will trickle down to the other in-dustries and communities. Perhaps the most successful project is the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park.3 In Cabo Pulmo, there are sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, and other species in numbers not seen anywhere else in the Sea of Cortez. That was not al-ways the case in the 27-square-mile marine protected area. Fearing that their once bountiful fishing grounds were be-ing destroyed by overfishing -- and indeed that any fishing in the area might not be sustainable -- the villagers began petitioning the federal government more than 20 years ago to establish a marine reserve at Cabo Pulmo. The govern-ment eventually granted their request in 1995, setting aside 35 percent of the park as a no-take zone, where all fishing is prohibited and banning gill nets, trawling and long lines in

    continued on page 4

    A Pod of Dolphins Swim Under the Boat

  • East Capers Re-Cycle - Please Pass This Copy On June/July


    The Future of the Sea of Cortez Continued from page 3

    the remainder of the park. Many in the village thought the no-take zone was too small and decided on their own to enforce a no-take policy throughout the whole park. The villagers now regularly pa-trol the waters in their pangas to guard against poaching. Overnight, the hundred or so members of a century-old fishing community voluntarily gave up their way of life. The plan was to remake the village into an ecotourism destina-tion. In only 10 years, the increase in biomass has broken all records. The total biomass has increased 460 percent. In terms of top predators, it has increased 1,000 percent in just 10 years. In the past four years, tiger sharks and bull sharks have returned. According to Amanda Maxwell, Director of Latin America projects in National Resource Defense Councils international program, bas

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