The value of DAN research and information resources will be on display March 17, 2012, when Dr. Matias Nochetto, DAN director of operations and outreach, joins filmmaker Joshua Wolff at the 20th Annual Environmental Film Festival for the Washington, D.C. world premiere of Wolff’s film, “My Village, My Lobster.”
Filmed over four years, “My Village, My Lobster” connects the lives of individuals and communities involved in the complex and dangerous lobster-fishing industry. It tells the story of the indigenous divers who risk their lives for Caribbean spiny lobster, the most lucrative resource of Nicaragua’s Miskito coast. Set against the backdrop of the visually stunning Caribbean in one of the most remote places in the Americas, La Mosquitia, the film also includes footage from the remote Miskito Keys -the fabled turtle hunting grounds of the Miskito Indians. Following the screening of the film, Nochetto will take part in a panel discussion and answer questions viewers may have on the medical consequences divers face as well as what is being done to try and mitigate and learn from their experiences.
“For some the discussion surrounding harvesting divers focuses on the economic need that forces these divers to take unimaginable risks,” said Nochetto. “And it’s an important discussion to have. But for DAN, working with harvesting divers’ populations presents us with an opportunity not only to help but also to study and gather data on serious diving injuries and treatment in a way we never have before. This is certainly helping dive medicine specialists better understand decompression illness, which not only helps the harvesting divers, but all divers.”
Added Nochetto, “We are very excited and proud of what we are doing with our Harvesting Divers Project. We’re in the final stages of arranging to send doctors to the region on a rotation basis; it’s an important step in the project, because doctors will be able to condense a lifetime of exposure to serious DCI cases into only a few weeks. The experience and knowledge they gain will not only benefit the harvesting divers, but will be something they can apply when helping recreational divers as well.”
Readers of Alert Diver magazine are already familiar with the plight of the Miskito harvesting divers, as their tale was recounted following DAN’s initial visit to Honduras to study the risks harvesting divers take, why the risks are taken, and to try and find ways to reduce the risks and improve diver safety. Since the initial visit in 2010, DAN has returned to Honduras to conduct education courses and continues to support the local medical community in its efforts to offer treatment resources to the divers.
“Our study of and work with harvesting divers is an ongoing project,” said Nochetto. “As with everything else DAN does, our focus is on education and improving safety. We appreciate the opportunity to discuss the project and our work as a whole in a venue that may not yet be familiar with us.”
The film festival runs March 13-25, 2012.