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STORY 1 - Thousands of men across the Mosquitia region of Honduras and Nicaragua depend on lobster fishing to eke out a living, and like hundreds have been stricken with the bends, decompression sickness caused when nitrogen bubbles form in divers' bodies. Some are paralyzed. Some are killed. An average 10-pound daily haul of lobster is a windfall for people in one of the most impoverished regions of the Americas, so many take the risk, and many suffer for it. Safe standard diving techniques call for a gradual ascent to the surface to eliminate the nitrogen that the body's tissues absorb during a dive, and for a limit to the number of dives a person makes in a day. Many of the divers of Mosquitia dive deeply, surface quickly and then go back for more, racing to collect as much lobster as possible. The boats, where they spend days playing cards and talking among themselves between dives, often have only rudimentary safety equipment and use aging tanks and masks.
In this Sept. 10, 2018 photo, Miskito fishermen fish cucumber under a heavy rain near Savannah Cay, Honduras.
Rodrigo Abd / Associated Press