About the Film
Along Nicaragua’s Miskito Coast, commercial lobster diving is the largest industry, employing over 5,000 Nicaraguans, mostly indigenous Miskito Indians. It’s an industry that affects the livelihoods of 50,000 men, women and children, and contributes millions of dollars to the regional economy. Since the early 1990s, over 90% of the lobster caught in Nicaragua has been exported to the United States and sold via international distributors to supermarkets and restaurant chains. Unlike small-scale fishing methods, the commercial diving industry uses SCUBA technology and large, re-purposed shrimping vessels to catch lobster in deep waters far off-shore. With few educational opportunities and almost no alternative sources of employment, Miskito Indians turn to commercial diving in order to support their families.
Because of commercial lobster diving, hundreds of Miskito divers have died, and thousands more have become paralyzed from decompression sickness, a diving-related condition commonly known as the bends, creating an epidemic of decompression disease that has remained largely ignored by the Nicaraguan government and international community. Decompression sickness results when a diver ascends too rapidly from the depths of the ocean or fails to make decompression stops during the ascent, causing a rapid decrease in pressure. In severe cases, divers can lose consciousness, experience immediate paralysis, fall into a coma or even die.
In 2013, a controversial law passed by the Nicaraguan government will ban commercial diving in hopes to reduce the number of preventable, diving-related injuries and deaths. The economic consequences for the coast, however, could be devastating, as millions of dollars in revenue dry up, and thousands are left unemployed. With few economic alternatives along the coast, and a lack of government and international pressure to comply, commercial lobster diving is likely to persist despite the new legislation.
MY VILLAGE, MY LOBSTER features exclusive testimony from a cast of compelling central characters: lobster divers who have been injured from the bends while diving; boat owners and captains who are responsible for their divers’ safety; a hyperbaric medicine specialist who treats injured divers; and diving boat crew members who have witnessed divers die from the bends firsthand. In addition, the film includes exclusive footage from aboard The Spanish Lady, a commercial lobster diving vessel, as well as stunning footage from the remote Miskito Keys – the fabled turtle hunting grounds of the Miskito Indians.
Running time: 60 minutes
Language: Spanish, Miskito and Creole English with English subtitles