Did you hear about the Tai­wanese fish­ing fleet that fish­es for sharks (and maybe oth­er sea crea­tures) using long lines off the coast of Cos­ta Rica?

I too was aston­ished and the film­mak­er inter­viewed implied that such things were gen­er­al­ly hid­den from view. 

Since Geog­ra­phy is my favourite sub­ject, just long extinct in US schools (per­haps as the sharks may become off Cos­ta Rica?), I’ve tak­en some time to read­up and remind myself of where Tai­wan is and its polit­i­cal connections.

Tai­wan is an inde­pen­dent island off the coast of main­land Chi­na and it appar­ent­ly has ties to sev­er­al Cen­tral and South Amer­i­can coun­tries – who knew? But as Chi­na increas­es its influ­ence inter­na­tion­al­ly Tai­wan is los­ing sup­port from coun­tries like Paraguay and Hon­duras, to name just two.

It’s polit­i­cal stuff we don’t pay atten­tion to, but Tai­wan has been invest­ing in Cen­tral and South Amer­i­ca for some time and even sends emis­saries to obscure coun­tries in Africa. Con­sid­er­ing these are coun­tries thou­sands of miles apart across the Pacif­ic and Atlantic Oceans it makes for inter­est­ing reading.

It actu­al­ly goes to how lit­tle most of us know about the rest of the world and how pre­oc­cu­pied and insu­lat­ed and ‘island like’ the US pop­u­la­tion, and per­haps the rest of the west­ern world, is.

Cou­ple this with an arti­cle I read in yesterday’s paper about a Chi­nese-Jamaican (most Caribbean islands have his­tor­i­cal­ly had large per­cent­ages of Chi­nese and oth­er eth­nic groups active in their pop­u­la­tions) who is sell­ing his native Jamaican foods to Wal­mart. In order to expand he needs to turn to “Asia” to sup­ply his “Jamaican” prod­ucts at the very cheap prices Wal­mart, and its con­sumers, want and need!

So many of the prod­ucts we might think of as “Caribbean” may now be sup­plied by “Asia”.

Starts you think­ing about more than ‘fishing’ off Cos­ta Rica doesn’t it?