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Announcing Project “Red Alerta” – Isle of Youth, Cuba

Project Red AlertaWe are pleased to announce Project “Red Alerta,” a unique partnership of Ocean Doctor’s Cuba Conservancy Program and the community of Cocodrilo, a small community on the southern shore of Cuba’s Isle of Youth. Through this project, a coral reef ecosystem monitoring network and education program will be established in the community. Participants will be taught about environmental issues and protection, coral reef ecosystems, their importance and threats, and trained in monitoring methodologies. They will be provided with and trained in the use of snorkeling gear, coral reef identification and health assessment, and how to collect and prepare data for sharing with the scientific community and the public.

Cocodrilo has high unemployment and few opportunities. The majority of the jobs in the community remain fishing-related. Project “Red Alerta” can help broaden the community’s opportunities for income. As the community gains familiarity with its coral reef ecosystems and identification of corals and fish, they will be gaining key skills that can be used to educate tourists, allowing the community to develop a strong, sustainable ecotourism operation. Cocodrilo residents are eager to benefit from tourism and the first bed and breakfast (casa particular) was just approved in the community in December 2015.

cocodrilo map

Location of the community of Cocodrilo on Cuba’s Isle of Youth

Over time, the program will help support economic independence for the community and provide strong incentives to protect the adjacent Punta Frances Marine Protected Area (PFMPA). In addition, the program will have important educational linkages to young students in school programs and help foster a growing environmental awareness throughout the community.

The project name, “Red Alerta,” takes advantage of two different meanings of the word “red” in Spanish and English. “Red Alerta” translates as “Alert Network” from Spanish (where “red” means “network”), while in English, “Red Alerta” is close to the term “red alert,” conveying great urgency, appropriate to the dire situation facing Caribbean coral reefs.

Despite its designation as a protected area, fishing continues illegally within the PFMPA limits, both by commercial fishing cooperatives and by individuals. Unfortunately, the net impact of continued fishing may be threatening the health of the coral reef ecosystem. In August 2015, a scientific workshop led by Ocean Doctor, including Cuban and U.S. scientists, observed a striking lack of large fish (including grouper, snapper and sharks) and some coral reefs experience an overgrowth by macroalgae, a possible symptom of overfishing. Understanding and managing the problem is compounded by a lack of ongoing coral reef monitoring, due to a lack of resources. Project “Red Alerta” can benefit the marine park by providing ongoing monitoring and economic incentives to protect it.

Ultimately, Cocodrilo could serve as a model for other Cuban coastal communities seeking a future that is both environmentally and economically sustainable.

Ocean Doctor Cuba Coastal Communities 20160510
Ocean Doctor Cuba Coastal Communities 20160510
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Jean-Michel Cousteau on the Gulf, His Father and Our Oceans’ Future

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January 31, 2011: Our special guest this week is Jean-Michel Cousteau, who leads Ocean Futures Society, a nonprofit marine conservation organization which he founded in 1999 to honor his father’s legacy to carry on his pioneering work in exploring, filming and protecting the oceans.? Jean-Michel has produced over 80 films, received the Emmy and the Peabody Award among others. He was honored with the Environmental Hero Award by the White House. In February 2002, he became the first person to represent the Environment in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Jean-Michel led the effort to return Keiko, the captive killer whale of “Free Willy” film fame, to the wild. With his team, Jean-Michel has been working for months to document the impact of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. Also: Our in-depth coverage of the National? Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill continues.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

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Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

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Saving Our Seas with an eBay Guitar: The Arts and Ocean Literacy

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January 24, 2011: Like it or not, our kids are going to inherit an oiled Gulf and a troubled ocean, and their generation will ultimately have to deal with problems we’ve created. But how do we ensure they’re up to the challenge? If you listen to multimedia artist and conservationist Mark Holmes, reaching our kids through the arts is a powerful approach and that’s exactly what he’s doing with the newly-formed Institute for Ocean Literacy. Mark formerly worked at National Geographic where he launched the NationalGeographic.com web site and designed and art directed National Geographic Magazine. His music, graphic novels, and passion are helping to inspire our next generation. Also: Our in-depth coverage of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling continues as the Ocean Doctor guides you through the highlights of its final report.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

Follow The Ocean Doctor on TwitterBecome a Fan on Facebook!

Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

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Oceans ’11: The BP Oil Spill Commission Speaks – Ocean Issues to Watch

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January 17, 2011: The National? Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling has released its final report. What does it say and what are the lessons from this tragedy? The Ocean Doctor guides you through the highlights. Also: From The Ocean Foundation’s headquarters in Washington, DC, our panel of experts discusses other key ocean issues we should pay attention to this year.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

Follow The Ocean Doctor on TwitterBecome a Fan on Facebook!

Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. Read more