CEO Iain Kerr Represents Ocean Alliance at Gulf of Mexico Marine Mammal Conference

Last week, our CEO Iain Kerr attended a Gulf of Mexico Marine Mammal research and monitoring meeting, hosted by the US Marine Mammal Commission.

In the above photo, Iain is standing next to Laura Engleby – who works in the NOOA Fisheries Southeast Regional office. Not only is she a long time friend, but she is the Marine Mammal Project Coordinator for the Gulf of Mexico.

The meeting was focused on the Gulf of Mexico – where we have been working over the last 5 summers in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which began five years ago today.
The Meeting’s Objectives were as follows:
– Provide an overview of marine mammal stocks and human activities in the Gulf of Mexico
– Review marine mammal research and monitoring programs in the Gulf of Mexico
– Identify potential funding sources/opportunities for marine mammal research and monitoring
– Identify high priority, overarching marine mammal information needs for the next 5-15 years
Dr. Iain Kerr, Dr John Hildebrand from SCRIPPS La Jolla & Dr. Frances Gulland from Marine Mammal Center Sausalito

Dr. Iain Kerr, Dr John Hildebrand from SCRIPPS La Jolla & Dr. Frances Gulland from Marine Mammal Center Sausalito

The Gulf of Mexico is a fascinating and diverse ecosystem, and it plays an important role in the US economy. 17% of the US gross domestic product (GDP) comes from the Gulf and Gulf related industries and tourism. In 2011 alone, Gulf fisheries brought in $818 million. The Deepwater Horizon disaster shone a spotlight on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, considering that 41% of runoff across the USA drains into the Mississippi. This means that everything from industrial, agriculture (intentional and unintentional) runoff to just the regular detritus of our lifestyles is being dumped into the Gulf. This kind of data proves that we need to keep up the momentum so that we can learn all we can about the 21 species of marine mammals that live in the Gulf and the threats from human activities that they face. As we see it ,the Gulf of Mexico is a great microcosm for larger ocean systems.  Some say ‘as go the Gulf so go the world’s oceans’.  A big thanks to the US Marine Mammal Commission for putting together this meeting.
-Dr Iain Kerr
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