July 20, 2017
Lawyer John Moreno Rutowski’s incarceration 62 days ago spurred outcry against Black Creek Group, an American development company that plans to convert beaches, mangroves, and dunes in a tranquil fishing town near the popular destination Todos Santos on the Mexican Pacific into two hotels and 4,000+ housing units based upon the concept of ‘wellbeing.’
Every morning at dawn, the fishermen of Punta Lobos take their boats out to the high seas to find shrimp boats and give bread, cookies, and soft drinks to the crew members in exchange for shrimp heads to use as bait.
They do this out of necessity. Deep down, they surely would prefer not to have to depend on this. The boats usually arrive at the beaches of Todos Santos, in Baja California Sur, from the neighboring state of Sinaloa. The fishermen practice trawling — taking in tons of shrimp and young sole, a species that artisanal fishermen work with and protect.
The shrimp heads are for the fishermen, and the small sole go back into the sea dead. For decades, the members of the Punta Lobos Fishing Cooperative have seen tons of dead fish thrown overboard and have spoken out about it with anger as they take their afternoon breaks.
But nowadays, this is the least of their problems: in 2013, the Mexican government approved the construction of a hotel on Punta Lobos Beach and the lawyer who defended the members of the cooperative, John Moreno Rutowski, has been incarcerated in the height of a full legal battle against the company developing the project.