Residents of the community of Ostional on the far Pacific coast have been collecting and selling turtle eggs for 30 years. This is legal because government officials have said that the eggs that are taken only would be destroyed by later arriving turtles.
Now the residents want some legal assurance that the practice can continue. A representative of the Asociación de Desarrollo de Ostional said that the community has made about $5 million for the sale of turtle eggs during that time. But it also has made significant investments in conservation projects, the association representative said.
A pending measure in the legislature would solidify the deal between the government and the community. It is No. 18.939 and involves the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Ostional.
The egg collecting is not without critics, and Ostional has become infamous due to a series of Internet photos that shows members of the community happily collecting turtle eggs. The photos circulate under the title “Shame of Costa Rica,” and the series draws unhappy emails from those who are not familiar with what really is going on.