As an instructor in the Keys I worked on dive boats where customers would pay near a hundred dollars for a chance to swim down a lobster or two. Along the Miskito coast, the Carribbean coast from the middle of Honduras to the middle of Nicaragua, the price is much higher.
Local men are rounded up, given a meager bonus, handed SCUBA gear and shipped out to sea. They are not trained on how to work the dive tables. No one tells them that if you dive too deep and stay too long you may be paralized the rest of your life, or worse, you might die. Their equipment is shotty and they are expected to dive to obscene depths, for way too long, and to perform dive after dive while wiping out the local lobster populations.
Researching my upcoming trip to the area, I stumbled upon an article that brought this situation to my attention. According to this article in OnEarth Magazine, the World Bank reports that near 100% of the divers show signs of neurological damage and that somewhere between 800-2,500 divers from one town have suffered severe injury or death as a result of poor diving practices.
Read the full article here. http://www.nrdc.org/onearth/04fal/redgold2.asp
Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but this is something everyone should read about.