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Continuing subscribers know we have filed several reports in recent years on the virtually untapped angling riches of eastern Nicaragua. We have, in fact, suggested this jungle region may emerge some day as a serious competitor to Costa Rica, which has fouled most of its east coast rivers with banana-farm runoff and silt caused by clearcutting. Well, someone had better start providing some financial incentive soon for the local people to conserve fish stocks. With no sportfishing industry in place to bring in dollars, it appears they are beginning to punch the resource in dead earnest.

I have that from Milton Hanburry of Trek International Safaris (*), who has this to say after a recent visit to eastern Nicaragua: "I just returned from a trip to Nicaragua where my hopes were high to find the kind of fishing I read about back in the 60’s and 70’s. What I found was a country that has no idea of the destruction it is doing to its fisheries. My Nicaraguan partners and I flew to Puerto Cabezas on the northern Caribbean coast to gather information. Very few if any Americans have fished this region and many Nicaraguans, including my partners, know little about it.

"When we landed, the first place we headed was the fishing pier. I asked some netters I met there where they were selling their fish and was told there are five fish-processing houses in Cabezas. I visited one and found to my amazement boxes upon boxes of fresh snook. The netters told me they were getting 50 cents a pound for snook and that the Japanese and Americans were buying them. At that price, they said they needed over 200 pounds to even make it worth their while.

"The economy of Nicaragua is not good and these forgotten people are only doing what they can to provide for their families. They admit the fishing is not as good as it once was and openly concede that one day they may have no fish to catch. These people need direction from their government, of course, and better ways to utilize their fish. Sportfishing operations would help…."

Here at The Angling Report we don’t have the capital to run around building fishing lodges, but we will happily help form a network of people interested in starting sportfishing operations in eastern Nicaragua. We already know one Nicaraguan native who’s eager to start a lodge. He’s Mario Vallardes of Miami, Florida. He has good contacts in the country, lots of fishing knowledge and a burning desire to get something constructive going in his home country. He can be reached at the number listed below.

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