Monday, December 17, 2007

Seen on Isla

While walking around downtown the other day, I spotted all of these starfish drying in the sun.

The next day I again saw them. This time they were piled up in a basket at the store across the street from where they had been drying. Truthfully, I hate to see this kind of thing. I don't know if starfish are endangered, or even how many of them there are around here. It just seems wrong to me somehow to harvest them in such quantities, just to have something more to sell to the tourists. Although I doubt that they were intentionally harvested. Probably the incidental catch of the fishing nets.

Let me ask you, dear readers. Would you ever buy one of these as a souvenir? If so, what on Earth would you do with it? Hang it from your wall? Put it on your coffee table? Seriously, I would really like to know.


Anonymous said...

Wayne - Amigo - I remember many years ago having a starfish carcass around my apartment. I had retrieved it from a scuba diving adventure.

I have also been in a number of bars and restaurants where you see a fish net design (display) with shells and perhaps a starfish.

I have no recollection of the eventual fate of the starfish in my pad (it was the 60's)- but now that you bring it up - I hope you will supply some further info on whether this is an OK thing to do - as you suggest it might not be and why do we need them anyway?

If it is OK perhaps they are an inexpensive jog to the memory of a great time in your neck of the beaches?

Keep us posted. I don't have any current decorating or memory jogging need for one myself at this point in life.

John Calypso

Islagringo said...

John: I did a bit of research and cannot find anyplace that lists starfish as endangered. In fact, there are over 1800 species of them spread throughout the world. I, too, have seen the fishnet type decorations. Most recently in San Blas. The only time that I can remember even briefly owning one was when my then next door neighbor here had her Quincenera. She made lamps with starfish as the base and conch shells as the light as gifts for her guests. They collected all the "parts" needed from the beach and streets after Hurricane Ivan. They were all dead anyway. I can still remember the stench of the starfish rotting and drying out in their backyard. We had no idea at the time why she wanted so many starfish. She had actually handwritten on each lamp her name, the date and the name of the guest. But those parties are the subject of another post!

Jonna said...

I actually saw the best use of a dead starfish the other day in Playa. It was a wall sconse (sp?) and it had a small halogen light behind it. There's an art shop across the street from Babe's with conch shell hanging lights and these starfish wall sconces (hmmm I've spelled that 2 ways now and neither looks right).

The lights are really nice, I was tempted by one of the hanging conch shells. Not so much by the starfish.

Islagringo said...

Jonna, I saw that same store when we were there. I like some of the conch shells. They would be good for mood lighting but certainly not to read by!

Anonymous said...

I've seen them hung on walls, used as wall sconces/lamps, and filled with wax and wicks for candles.

I'm on the fence myself about starfish and shells being sold...I do have a problem with them being harvested specifically for souvenirs, but if I find a shell washed up on the beach, is that ok?

And then there is the part of me that thinks, here is a poor person, using the only methods at his disposal to make money. Conflicting emotions, for sure.

Islagringo said...

heather: I agree with special harvests but I really doubt that that is the case. Although I do see snorkelers in front of my house a lot. "professional" ones. I thought they were only after lobster (they do this even when it is off season for them!). Maybe they are collecting starfish to sell too. Who knows. As for shells, hey, if I get there first, it's mine!

Hollito said...

If it is a incidental catch from fishing, it may be okay (but you could also throw them back in the water), if they are harvested, no.
I have no idea, if starfishes are an endangered species or not, but in my opinion its not good.
Personally, I would never buy a starfish for decoration or so. I might think different if I would live at the sea, but in my home in the middle of Germany it would look strange and displaced. Why should I have a dryed starfish lying around? It would just collect dust...

Islagringo said...

Holito: Welcome back! I've wondered where you have been. Love the little profile picture of you!

Hollito said...

thanks for your welcome. :-)
Have been a little busy the last days and am soon flying to the USA for 2 weeks. But still try to have a look at your blog regularly.
So, if I will not write another comment in the next days, I already wish you and all other bloggers over in MX a nice christmas and a happy new year!

Holger "Hollito"

P.S.: You can find the "Avatar-Generator" that made my profile picture at Give it a try. :-)

Steve Cotton said...

They would make great badges for the environmental police.