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  • >>Winnie Lam: Hello everyone. Iím Winnie Lam. Thank you so much for attending this

  • talk about oceans. We have two esteemed scientists here with us from the Wildlife Conservation

  • Society whoís gonna tell us about our oceans. Weíve got Claudio Campagna, Doctor Claudio

  • Campagna, and, um, Dr. Caleb McClennon both from the Wildlife Conservation Society. Dr.

  • Claudio Campagna is the leading scientist of the Wildlife Conservation Societyís Patagonian

  • Sea Program. He specializes in the biology and conservation of marine mammals. In addition

  • to having published five books and 60 scientific papers, heís also been the scientific advisor

  • for the BBC and the National Geographic Channel. Heís gonna talk to us about our oceans. And

  • Dr. Caleb McClennon is the Marine Conservation Director at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

  • He works on improving our fisheries management globally so that we can conserve marine biodiversity

  • worldwide. And for those of you who are here to hear about the trip to Belize, heís gonna

  • talk to us about that. So without further ado letís give a very warm welcome to our

  • guests, Dr. Claudio Campagna and Dr. Caleb McClennon.

  • >>Caleb McClennon: Thank you, Winnie, and thanks everyone for taking some time out of

  • your busy day to be here with us. So, as Winnie mentioned, weíre gonna go through a bit of

  • some of the most fascinating places in the worldís oceans today, some of the challenges

  • we face and then some stories of hope that where weíre working and other people are

  • working to make a significant difference in improving the health of the oceans. And we

  • wanna focus, specifically, on the Patagonian Sea, a place where Claudio has spent close

  • to 30 years of his life working to help, to help save and with remarkable progress and

  • I think really an inspiration to all of us that we can make a big difference out there.

  • And then finallyll close with just a short summary of this opportunity that we have to

  • host some volunteers in a Glover's Reef Research Station in Belize and provide you a bit more

  • details about that opportunity and then weíll have some time for questions. So thank you

  • all and itís really a pleasure to be here at Google. So, when we think about the oceans

  • and what drew you here or what inspires people to think about caring about our seas. Everyone

  • has some sort of image like this in their heads. For me this is diving, actually at

  • Glover's Reef in Belize with two different species, a Bottlenose and a Beak dolphin,

  • swam side by side next to me and just blow your mind away in terms of taking you away

  • from humanity and bringing you into the sea. So all of you probably, from some part of

  • your life, have your own image like this where youíve connected individually on a personal

  • level with some species in the sea. And if you havenít, it will happen and it will really

  • be fantastic. So thereís these moments that are inspirational, thereís also vast ocean

  • ecosystems that have tremendous biodiversity. This is from Bunaken Reserve in the heart

  • of the coral triangle where you have 600 species of coral reef, 3,000 species of reef fish.

  • For people who have been there and have seen it, itís like no other place on the planet.

  • Itís the center, the center of origin for marine biodiversity on the planet, a place

  • that is beyond comparison. This is in the center of Indonesia in the IndoPacific coral

  • triangle. So the oceans have this fantastic biodiversity, this fantastic wildlife, these

  • incredibly important ecosystems but as we know, the oceans are also critically important

  • for the livelihoods of tens of millions of people around the world. They provide critical

  • seafood for over a billion people on the planet. Ninety percent of fishermen living on the

  • planet are depending on oceans in small scale aspects like these. These are two fishermen

  • off the coast of Madagascar, living on one or two dollars a day, 100 percent protein

  • for their families is coming from the sea. So the sea is not just some fantastic aspect

  • of biodiversity for us to go to vacation to and see, but is an elemental part of coastal

  • livelihoods throughout the world. And this is really an important essence of the oceans

  • to also remember. So when, on the other side of fishing from the sea, thereís also as

  • we know, and probably people have heard far too much about, the over-fishing crisis that

  • we face on the planet. We have trawlers, trawling in very close to the shore line in places

  • that have almost no rules, taking in bycatch of marine turtles and dolphins and over harvesting

  • too many species without any sort of regulations. We are now importing far more seafood from

  • the developing world than we produce in the developed world. We are inadequately managing

  • our fisheries and taking them from places we have no idea with the population structure,

  • how much fish we could possibly take out of the ocean. So thereís a significant challenge

  • that is the industrial scale fisheries that are increasingly moving into resource-poor

  • and governance -poor places. An articulation of this is the crisis we face with shark finning

  • and shark fisheries today. We woke up to the whales in the early part of last century and

  • we started an international commitment to saving the great whales on this planet. As

  • a result, around the world whale populations are rebounding. In 1970s, we woke up to sea

  • turtles and as a result many sea turtle populations around the world are rebounding. Today, weíre

  • waking up to the shark finning crisis. WCS research that we had done in the last decade

  • indicates that between 40 and 70 million sharks are taken, a year, from our oceans. Almost

  • none of the shark populations are assessed, almost none of these fisheries are controlled.

  • This is a species crisis in the oceans of our day. As we, as was articulated two summers

  • ago, oil and gas extraction and is moving, has moved into the Gulf of Mexico and is now

  • moving off shore to a number of countries around the world. This is a National Geographic

  • map of oil infrastructure in the Gulf moving out to about 150 miles. This is physical infrastructure

  • in the ocean. When you look out in the ocean off the coast of California, you see almost

  • none of this physical infrastructure because thereís moratorium in oil drilling. The Gulf

  • of Mexico is a very different story and the waters of a lot of countries around the world

  • is a very different story in terms of oil exploration This is changing the way we think

  • of the oceans. Weíre thinking about it as a space; a space to be used and a space to

  • be managed in a way that we only thought of possible on land before. In some places, the

  • rule of law for the oceans is also incredibly challenging; such that people are using dynamite

  • still to fish or to collect coastal aggregate materials for construction. This is a photo

  • I took in the Marshall Islands, where I lived for four years working for their government,

  • where theyíre still using reef resources for mining materials because there is no other

  • resources for construction materials. So the physical use of near shore reefs is another

  • significant challenge we face. And then finally, as we all have heard from many different angles,

  • but we cannot mention the oceans without describing the situation of climate change and its impact

  • to the oceans. This is a reef in Aceh in Indonesia a year ago prior to, a year and a half ago,

  • prior to the bleaching event that bleached out 100 percent of certain species of corals,

  • in a site where we worked. So the white is what happens to corals when all their symbiotic

  • algae is expelled and if the temperatures do not decrease after a few weeks, the corals

  • die, and thatís what has happened in Indonesia. It happened in a lot of places around the

  • world when temperatures were elevated. So, like many ecosystems, the global impact on

  • climate change is also a considerable challenge. This all being said, there is significant

  • hope in the oceans like there has not been before. There is a changing mindset in people

  • and in countries around the world to try to find a way to better protect, better manage

  • your fisheries, expand protected areas out in the oceans, ensure smart growth as opposed

  • to unregulated growth of extractive industries and invest significantly more into scientific

  • research and understanding of the vast waters of our planet. Weíve invested a lot of money

  • and time in understanding domestic waters of the US. And now a lot of that is changing

  • to expand throughout the world. Just to point you out a bit of where we focus is that thereís

  • three centers of marine biodiversity in the planet. Basically the western edge of ocean

  • basins, so the western edge of the Atlantic is the Caribbean, western edge of the Indian,

  • the western Indian Ocean and the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, these are the hearts

  • of marine biodiversity. Areas that are generally very nutrient poor but have vast coral reef

  • resources. So these places are, in a planet that is covered 72 percent by ocean, some

  • of the most critical places to work to expand in protected areas and improving fisheries.

  • There are also some places, again, along the coast, where the greatest amount of productivity

  • is happening on the oceans, where 90 percent of marine life is existing in the coastal

  • zone and you have huge aggregations of coastal wildlife. The Congo basin coast in Central

  • Africa has the worldís largest population of Leatherback Sea Turtles. For folks that

  • have seen Leatherbacks, theyíre talking 9 feet long, these creatures that are extremely

  • vulnerable, the last, the largest population in the planet lives here and is doing very

  • well. The Bay of Bengal has the worldís largest population of Irrawaddy river dolphins and

  • coastal cetaceans . But the government of Bangladesh, one of

  • the poorest countries on the planet, just put in a protected area to protect a whole

  • slew of the population of river dolphins that is bigger by a factor of ten than any other

  • population on the planet. And in the Arctic, between Alaska and Russia, which is experiencing

  • incredible impacts from climate change and receding of ice, there was an effort to continue

  • to protect walrus populations, ice seals to manage through this change and the indigenous

  • communities that actually depend on these resources to stay alive. And then finally

  • the Patagonia Coast where Claudio and a number of people who work for him and partner with

  • him are protecting the largest continental population of Southern elephant seals, penguins,

  • albatross, in a way, in protecting and restoring that abundance in a way that is unprecedented

  • around the planet. So there is incredible hope and incredible demonstrated success of

  • places where weíre improving the health of the oceans and saving a number of species

  • and ecosystems. Iím just gonna close with a few slides. Some narrow slices of anecdotes

  • that I think are quite interesting. These are several of our Indonesian staff working

  • together with some fisherman in Indonesia that previously had used cyanide to fish for

  • the live reef fish trade; to take reef fish out and bring them to restaurants still living

  • like we do with lobster. And itís just a delicacy in East Asia. We worked with them

  • to halt the cyanide fishing in exchange to pilot some agriculture programs where they

  • can more sustainably produce what the market is demanding. And as a result, they started

  • managing their fisheries better, thereís no more cyanide on the reef and the biodiversity

  • and the number of fish is coming back out. And theyíre economically doing better than

  • they were doing when they were using cyanide in the reef. So a win win, economically for

  • these fishers who are living on very few amounts of dollars per day and also for the marine

  • resource, critical in a place like Indonesia where you have 200 million people living in

  • an island country that is extremely small. Thatís a photo from Belize. These are Nassau

  • Grouper which are critically threatened throughout the Caribbean. Most of the spawning aggregations

  • of Nassau Grouper have gone ecologically extinct in the Caribbean because they come together

  • to breed, and thatís a very easy time to fish them. In Belize, the government of Belize

  • over the last thirty years protected all of the spawning aggregations of Nassau Grouper

  • and in some places such as Glover's Reef, weíve quadrupled the spawning populations

  • of Nassau Grouper as a result of protecting them where theyíre spawning and also more

  • smartly managing the fisheries in the areas where weíre not able to protect that species

  • alone. So a significant bounce back of a species that we thought may go ecologically extinct

  • throughout the Caribbean because of the tremendous value. And this, again, is taken at Glover's

  • Reef, these are magnificent fish. These are some guards working in Gabon in Africa. Thereís

  • a country in Central Africa, as I mentioned the worldís largest population of Leatherback

  • Sea Turtles. The government of Gabon created, about 10 years ago created a significant network

  • of terrestrial protected areas to protect this terrestrial biodiversity. And just now

  • theyíre committing, on the same side, to create a large network of no-take marine reserves

  • in the waters, to protect marine species, to protect fisheries and to ensure larger

  • protection for the overarching marine ecosystem in a country in Central Africa which is unprecedented

  • for Africa, so incredible hope for a place that has been generally under prioritized.

  • And now we get to Claudio Campagna and some of the work on the Southern Elephant Seal

  • and the Patagonia Sea. I think a story youíll hear from Claudio today in understanding these

  • animals and the understanding of what can be done to restore oceans. Not only in the

  • US but around the world is really impressive and needs to be replicated in nearly every

  • country. And so I will leave it to him to tell that story of success and continued possibility

  • for expansion of caring for and protecting our oceans that is unprecedented.

  • >>Claudio Campagna: Well, that image actually was helping me because this is being stretched

  • like that so the animal was looking a little bit larger. Yet, Elephant Seals are 5 meters

  • long and that was a particularly big one, so it was helping me but in the right direction.

  • Iím going to talk about one place in the ocean, the Southwest Atlantic of the way we

  • call it, Patagonian Sea. You have to imagine an area the size of the Mediterranean Sea,

  • more or less, 1.5 million, 2 million square kilometers. Most of these waters, the ones

  • Iím specializing in, are part of the economic exclusive zone of Argentina. However, these

  • waters were very well known in the 19th century because Darwin spent most of the Voyage of

  • the Beagle in that area; a couple of years at least. But today the Argentines, not necessarily

  • understand it. Argentina is not a country that understands ocean, oceans as much as

  • it understands tango and beef consumption. [laughter] Thatís not a minor issue for someone

  • that wants to do ocean conservation that requires people to understand what the ocean means

  • and to put value into that. This is more or less the way the world sees the ocean. We

  • just see the surface of the ocean. We donít have a very good understanding of what the

  • ocean means. And we see the ocean very close to the coast. We understand the ocean up to

  • here, basically. And then we donít understand much more. This is a kind of, I wonder, but

  • this is a kind of idea that I would suggest most people have about the ocean. Itís like

  • a little bit of a combination of reality and mythology. Itís a surrealist perspective

  • of the ocean. And there are good reasons. If you look at some of the ocean creatures,

  • they're very, very appropriate to create, to promote our imagination about creatures

  • that do not exist. Have a look at this Southern Right Whale or at least South American sea

  • lion. These dolphins, mermaids, people were thinking about these animals like that, or

  • monsters, it was not inappropriate, they were having that understanding. Just imagine ten

  • thousand years ago, somebody walking around the coast of Peninsula Valdez in Argentina

  • seeing these kinds of scenarios. People were having that perspective about the ocean. The

  • perspective that combines little bit of imagination with a little bit of reality. Then the scientists

  • came and we changed that perspective. But we start to see the ocean in a very cold way;

  • satellite pictures of productivity; of ocean temperature. We were capable of understanding

  • where most ocean production was taking place. But we started to lose sight of that mythology,

  • of that particular attachment that came from the heart that caused fear but also caused

  • inspiration. I think that the Conservation is trying to bring together both worlds. And

  • this is what we have been trying to do in Argentina. My work there is on Elephant Seals,

  • I work on these big creatures. What I do, what I started to do was to observe the social

  • behavior of these animals. You have a Northern Elephant Seal very close by. I strongly suggest

  • you have a look at that. What we were doing most of the time is we were sitting there

  • on the beach watching the behavior of these animals on the coast. But then in the mid

  • 1980s, the technology was available to us, to understand what these animals were doing

  • when they were going to the ocean, at sea. Let me spend a second just to, okay, what

  • they were doing at sea. One thing that we did immediately is to put some recorders that

  • were telling us about the diving behavior of Elephant Seals. And the people that were

  • doing that work discovered that Elephant Seals can dive up to a mile under water. And they

  • can spend up to two hours without coming back to the surface. They are mammals; they have

  • to come back to the surface to get air. And this was being discovered in the mid 1980s,

  • really. With the Northern Elephant seal, he is very close by research by AÒo Nuevo doing,

  • working on AÒo Nuevo from UC Santa Cruz. At the time that was being done, technology

  • also allowed us to put instruments on Elephant Seals that told us where the animals were

  • located in the ocean. Iím talking the early 1990s. And we discovered these animals were

  • not find food very close, like 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers, 100 kilometers, but very far

  • away; 1,000 miles, 2,000 miles off the coast. So all the sudden, we were facing a completely

  • new challenge. For us protection, at the time, meant to do something when the animals were

  • on the coast, to create protected areas to protect their reproductive sites. But Elephant

  • Seals were spending 80 percent of their time in the far away ocean, in the open ocean,

  • in the deep ocean, in the international waters, places that were not protected at all. We

  • scientists, devoted to conservation, do worry about these things. Cause we donít see the

  • ocean like most people do when they just approach the coast for a vacation and they get all

  • the beauty, we are sensitive to that. But, unfortunately, you have a special perspective

  • that looks at the ocean with the problems that the ocean has. So when Iím in Patagonia

  • and I see a Magellanic Penguin, of course I see the beauty of a Magellanic Penguin,

  • but I have seen also many, many oil Magellanic Penguins so I want to do something. When Iím

  • working on Elephant Seals, of course I love the social behavior they have when they fight,