The Promise and Potential for Collaborative Marine Conservation with Cuba

A Special Session of Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2015

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

June 9, 2015 | Newseum – 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC

Capitol Hill Ocean WeekFollowing the dramatic December 2014 announcement by President Obama, the U.S. and Cuba are working toward normalized diplomatic relations for the first time in a half century. Prior to the announcement, among the few points of U.S. engagement with Cuba had been in marine research and conservation. With the announcement, the opportunities to expand collaborative marine research, conservation and education are profound and immediate. And the imperative could not be greater. While significant marine resource degradation has been documented throughout the wider Caribbean region, in contrast, Cuba offers an underwater oasis of healthy coral reef ecosystems. Collaborative U.S.-Cuban efforts can ensure protection of healthy reefs, and further may provide important insight on protecting and restoring coral reefs throughout the Caribbean. At the same time, normalized relations will open new channels of commerce and tourism and put new pressures on marine resources. This panel will explore the prospect of normalized diplomatic relations for continued and expanded collaboration and examine new opportunities and threats as we approach a post-embargo world.

Moderator
Cornelia Dean | Science Writer, New York Times and Writer-In-Residence, Brown University

Discussants
The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse | U.S. Senate, Rhode Island and Co-Chair, U.S. Senate Oceans Caucus

Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez | Chief of Mission of the Cuban Interests Section, Embassy of Switzerland

Ambassador David A. Balton | Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Robert Muse, J.D. | Attorney, Law Offices of Robert Muse

David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D. | President, Ocean Doctor

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