Between the Harvest Documentary Viewing Hosted on April 4

Published: Apr 3, 2012
The world’s only legal sea turtle egg harvest will be the topic of conversation at a film screening and panel discussion at The University of Tampa on Wednesday, April 4. The film, a short documentary titled Between the Harvest, will be shown in the Vaughn Center, 9th Floor, Crescent Club at 6:30 p.m.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion of the social and environmental themes brought to light in the film. The panel will include Carlos Mario Orrega, lead researcher at the Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica where the documentary was filmed, as well as the film’s director, Scott Drucker.

Between the Harvest captures the “arribada,” in which tens of thousands of olive ridley sea turtles storm the beaches of Ostional each month to lay their eggs. In the peak season, the number of turtles laying eggs can reach the hundreds of thousands.

The arribada is so prolific that often the eggs laid by the first wave of turtles are destroyed by subsequent turtles coming ashore. Since 1987, the government of Costa Rica has allowed the local people to collect this first wave of turtle eggs before they are damaged to eat and to sell. This both prevents poaching and helps the local economy.

The film presents this controversial practice from both the turtle’s and local community’s perspective in an effort to illustrate the need for balance.

“Conservation and sustainability in developing nations can often represent a classic double-edged sword,” said Daniel Huber, associate professor of biology and faculty adviser for the UT Environmental Protection Coalition, which is sponsoring the event.

“On one side is the well-being of an endangered species, while on the other side is the well-being of citizens trying to provide for their families. Industrialized nations have the luxury of embracing sustainability when it is convenient and cost-effective. There is, however, much more at stake for the people and turtles of Ostional.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Kealy McNeal at kmcneal@spartans.ut.edu.