Lake Atitlan a cautionary tale for us all.
Only 50 or so years ago the water in this 85000 year old lake was so clear that it did not contain any nutrients. Atitlan’s very existence was known only to few people and it barely showed on the map. Then along came Pan-Am Airlines who helpfully suggested to the new government (just installed following CIA organised coup that ended the first 12 years of honest democracy the country had known! ) introducing Black Bass to create a sport fishing mecca that was sure to bring wealthy Americans by the Pan Am plane load. Now if any thought was given to the impact of doing this, then it was a brief one! Good old Pan Am even provided a plane that literally bombed the lake with these ferocious bastards. With no natural predators it was soon more or less curtains for the other species of fish, fresh water crabs and even snatching young Pato Pocs ducks and their equally rare cousins the Atitlan Grebe (that lost its crab food sauce).
Now an environmental disaster like this should have woken everybody up and indeed it started to. Around 2001 an NGO suggested introducing another alien fish species, Carp to the lake, they were rounded on sharply for the idea and so the scheme was soon “dropped”, but then only one year later fisherman started catching carp in their nets!
Carp are a particularly useless fish, they provide poor eating due to being full of bones, they’re bottom feeders that just suck up and disturb everything on the lake bed and then shit it out causing algae to develop and “bloom” with disastrous effects on the water quality and just to cap it all, even the bloody Bass wont eat them! At this point I must point out that the presence of nitrate run off from the nearby farm land has also contributed. This blooming algae has been so bad on occasions that the smell from the rotting bacteria has almost closed down the tourist industry that is the economic heart of the area now.
This sorry tale just demonstrates just how complex and fragile our eco systems are, there are no simple solutions or answers despite what ANYBODY tells you. Please question and challenge everything politicians, think tanks and the big corporations tell you, its not being regressive its just bringing the rigor to bear that too often is sidestepped because “its an unnecessary distraction”.