Can conservation save our ocean? | The Economist
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Can conservation save our ocean? | The Economist

August 11, 2019


(pensive instrumental music) – [Woman] So, we’ll keep
an eye on these guys, and see where they go because they’re probably gonna go to their nets, which are somewhere out here. – [Narrator] The crew of
this ship is on a mission to try and save one of the most endangered sea creatures on the planet. – [Man] We now have our
night vision drones set up, and flying in close. – [Narrator] They’re in the middle of a marine protected area in Mexico, a conservation zone where certain types of fishing are banned. – [Man] Two guys covering their faces. I’m pretty sure they’re pulling a net. – [Narrator] Local fisherman
are poaching a species of fish that is so highly prized in China, they can make tens of thousands of dollars in just one night. – [Man] Yep, net. – [Woman] So, we see a net on the top– – [Man] Oh, he’s got a gun. – [Woman] And he has a gun. – Gun, gun, gun. We now know that these guys have guns. I think for the safety of the drone, I’m gonna fly home now. We have the coordinates
marked of where that net was. Tomorrow, we’re gonna pick up that net. Even though this is a
marine protected area, the illegal fisherman
still will go in and poach. They will destroy this ecosystem, and we’re here to try and stop them. – [Narrator] With ocean life under threat, could marine protected
areas be the answer? (pensive instrumental music) (mid-tempo instrumental music) – 16 metres of line in the water, please. – [Narrator] Near the Mexican fishing town of San Felipe on the
upper gulf of California, conservation group, Sea Shepherd, is working with the
authorities to help enforce a marine protected area, or MPA… A designated section of
ocean to be conserved, managed, and protected. – [Narrator] Maintaining
rich, diverse, ecosystems is key for the health of the ocean, and ultimately, the survival of humanity. But ocean life is under
threat from plants, to microorganisms and animals, species are disappearing forever. – [Narrator] Marine
biologist, Patricia Gandolpho, and the rest of the Sea Shepherd crew, are here to stop poachers. Caught up in the nets of the criminal gangs and local fishermen
is one particularly rare porpoise, the vaquita. – Is someone ready to grab the boat hook? – [Narrator] Worldwide,
there are thousands of sea species currently
threatened with extinction. Loosing just one species
from the food chain can have a disastrous effect
on an entire ecosystem. – [Narrator] There’s
something tangled in the net. – [Woman] Can we get the slide ready? – [Man] Alright, you guys
get it out, keep pulling. Get it out. Alright, get it to the back. – [Narrator] It’s a dead totoaba. The endangered and highly valued fish the poachers are after. – [Narrator] After it’s sold on, the totoaba’s swim bladder can fetch up to $100,000 a kilo in China, where it’s prized for
it’s medicinal properties. – [Narrator] The totoaba
needs to be destroyed. Patricia calls in the Mexican Navy, and the environmental agency
who are patrolling the area. – [Narrator] Critics
disapprove of Sea Shepherd’s use of direct action tactics
in some of their campaigns. But in the gulf of California, their presence is welcomed
by the Mexican government. – [Narrator] Globally,
the fishing industry employs 260 million people, but many more subsistence fishermen depend on the ocean for their income. Local fishermen here
claim protecting the ocean has limited how they can fish, destroying their way of life. Yet doing nothing may ultimately present more of a threat to their livelihoods. (gentle instrumental music) 800 miles south from the
turmoil unfolding in San Felipe lies the once thriving
fishing village of Cabo Pulmo. David Castro’s family worked
these waters for decades until overfishing destroyed
their livelihoods. – [Narrator] In order to survive, the community decided to try
something new, conservation. They approached the Mexican government to help them transform Cabo Pulmo into a marine protected area. Strict conservation
rules were put in place, and enforced by local residents to protect populations of fish and other sea life. Commercial fishing was banned, and scientists were invited
in to monitor the reef. – Cabo Pulmo for me has a very
special place in my heart. I feel very happy every
time that I come here. – [Narrator] Marine biologist,
Professor Octavio Aburto, has been studying Cabo
Pulmo for over 20 years. – I believe this is one
of the most important marine protected areas around the world. It’s a marine park that
was established in 1995, and since then, nobody has
fished inside the park. – [Narrator] Octavio hasn’t
been here for a year, and he’s excited to see
what’s happened in that time. – [Octavio] David! – [Narrator] Today, Octavio
is going out to survey a reef. – Let’s go!
(cheering) (adventurous instrumental music) – [Narrator] Cabo Pulmo,
marine protected area, is only 27 square miles, it’s tiny. But 22 years after the no
fishing policy was introduced, it’s having an effect
on a far greater area. – The idea of a marine
protected area is very simple. You give the ocean a rest, and everything that was
exploited will recover. Then when animals have started growing, and the abundance has started increasing, all these animals and all these new babies will start going out from the area. It’s an effect that is
called the spill over effect. (serene instrumental music) – [Narrator] What’s
happening in these waters is attracting global attention. (serene instrumental music) – [Octavio] We have been monitoring these reefs for the last 10 years. The first time that I came,
I didn’t see anything. The reefs were empty. Every time that we do a
transfer here in Cabo Pulmo we see more and more fish
compared with other reefs. – [Narrator] Octavio is here
to measure the size of the fish and record species that
are new to the reef. – [Octavio] When I put
my regulator in my mouth, and I jump in the water, everything changes for me. I forget about what is happening on land, the time, in some way, it stops. (tranquil instrumental music) – [Narrator] 30 minutes into his dive, Octavio spots a group
of surprise visitors. (tranquil instrumental music) A school of bull sharks. (tranquil instrumental music) For most people, this would be terrifying, but for Octavio, it’s a
sight he’s been waiting for since the creation of Cabo Pulmo’s marine protected area over 20 years ago. (gentle instrumental music) (splashing) – Incredible. The whole dive, 12 sharks
with us, incredible. Sharks are the most important
species on the reefs because they control the preys, they remove the sick
animals, the old ones. So, with sharks, the marine
communities are more productive. – [Narrator] Currently,
marine protected area make up only 3.6% of the world’s ocean. But a growing number of
scientists are calling for 30% to be protected by 2030. – After 22 years of protection, the community, the marine
community has rebound amazingly. It’s almost 500% in biomass, that’s means more fish
and bigger, bigger fish, especially top predators. (calm instrumental music) – [Narrator] Cabo Pulmo now has a thriving ecotourism and diving industry. The environmental rewards
provided by the MPA to the local community have been valued at millions of dollars a year. Far more than they ever made from fishing. – For me, the success of
this marine protected area is because the community
requested the national park. They have been involved
in many activities, including enforcement. They are receiving the economic
benefits of this protection. Now more and more people
come to see the reefs, to see the sharks, and this
money is basically increasing the human well-being of everyone that lives here in Cabo Pulmo. – [Narrator] Conservation has
changed David’s life forever. – [Narrator] The scientific research taking place at Cabo
Pulmo is providing hope that other destroyed marine
habitats can recover. – I think that if the Cabo Pulmo community was able to recover this
fantastic marine life, there should be no problem
for other communities in other parts of the world to recover the oceans in the same way. – [Narrator] Cabo Pulmo is just
a short flight from America. It can work as an eco-resort because it’s accessible for tourists. But most coastal communities
that rely on fishing are so remote they will never be able to make this kind of marine
protected area a reality. (soft instrumental music) – [Narrator] The village of Andavadoaka is on the remote south
western coast of Madagascar. It’s home to the Vezo people, who like nearly 90% of the population here are small scale fishermen. More than three billion
people depend on the ocean for their primary source of protein. Rusa is one of them. (calm instrumental music) – [Narrator] The ocean is
ingrained in Rusa’s culture. – [Narrator] Octopuses thrive
in these coastal waters. But as foreign demand for octopuses grew, fishing communities like
Rusa’s were encouraged to increase their catch. It was unsustainable. Octopus stocks were
soon in drastic decline. – Like the fishing people here, they had never foreseen that one day they would struggle to
feed their children. – [Narrator] Dr. Garth Cripps works for the charity Blue Ventures. In 2006, it helped
launched Madagascar’s first locally managed marine
area, a type of MPA. – Despite depending on the sea, the Vezo have previously
had no rights to it. So, the key thing that
enabled them to survive was completely insecure
and it was open access. Anybody could come in here and fish. – [Narrator] A total fishing
ban wasn’t an option, so Blue Ventures offered
an innovative plan. Smaller temporary bans for
a set number of months, acting like a crop
rotation in coastal waters. This enables stocks to
replenish themselves, while allowing the community to continue fishing sustainably. – [Narrator] It’s a big day
for Rusa in the community. This is the first time
they’ve been allowed to fish for octopuses in two months. (slow instrumental music) (slow instrumental music) – [Narrator] The locally
managed marine areas are patrolled by the villages themselves, who impose strict rules. (slow instrumental music) – [Narrator] These types of
MPAs have been such a success they’re being rolled
out across the country. – [Narrator] Thanks to seasonal closures, which give octopuses extra time to grow, Rusa’s catch has increased in size, and now she now earns
nearly 90% more at market. – [Narrator] The octopuses will be taken to a processing plant to
be frozen and shipped off to restaurants in
Europe, Africa, and Asia. – [Narrator] More than 65 locally managed marine areas have now
sprung up on the island. – [Narrator] For now,
these locally managed areas are replenishing coastal waters. But beyond the horizon,
there’s a far bigger threat over which the Vezo have no control. – It’s subsidised foreign
industrial fishing that is draining our seas of life. The capacity of a single industrial vessel is equivalent to what
this fishing community catches in an entire year. We need to act drastically an urgently, otherwise we’re facing
an immeasurable loss of life in our oceans. – [Narrator] While most damage from over fishing
happens around the coast, in order to ensure the
planet’s biodiversity, scientist are also looking
to protect large swathes of marine habitats including
those in the high seas. The ocean covers around
70% of the earth’s surface. The challenge is policing the most remote waters on the planet. The answer may lie in
an unlikely location. (pensive instrumental music) A team in Central England
believes it has the solution to policing the high seas. – What we’re looking at right
now is a map of the world. All these little dots, these
triangles that you see, represent hundreds of thousands of vessels whose tracking systems we
can pick up with satellites. (pensive instrumental music) – [Narrator] Bradley
Soule is a fishing analyst working for OceanMind, a
not for profit organisation harnessing the power
of satellite technology to fight against illegal fishing. – Satellite surveillance
is one of the most cost-effective ways to monitor
remote marine protected areas and ensure that vessels operating the area are following the rules. – [Narrator] Globally, there are more than four million fishing vessels. The biggest are fitted
with tracking systems, known as AIS, or Automatic
Identification System. This technology is a game
changer for fishing enforcement. – Vessels change course in
speed to set their fishing gear, and to pull it out of the water. And these courses and speeds,
when looked at over time, can give you a really strong
sense of whether or not it was just transiting through the area, or maybe what type of fishing activity may have been taking place. – [Narrator] This technology
enables the team here to keep tabs on commercial ships. Especially when they’re passing through marine protected area’s. OceanMind is currently
working with governments from all over the world to help reduce the amount of illegally
caught fish valued at around 23 billion dollars each year. Thailand is one of them. – We are in the process of
helping the Thai government to see if there are any risk
indicators of illegally caught fish entering supply
chains inside Thailand. (pensive instrumental music) – [Narrator] Bangkok is one of the busiest tuna ports in the world. Natalie Tellwright is OceanMind’s representative on the ground. She works alongside the
Thai port authorities. Any foreign flagged fishing vessel wanting to unload its
catch is investigated using tracking data gathered by OceanMind. – So, with the track analysis
that OceanMind’s has done for one of the carrier vessels. We’ve highlighted that
the vessel may have had slow speeds on the high seas. The red dots here indicate
speeds below five knots. And this is an indicator of
possible fishing activity. – [Narrator] Natalie
has given these findings to the Thai Port authorities. They have the power to inspect vessels, question the captain, and
investigate log books. – [Natalie] During their investigation, if they found the catch
was illegally caught, they wouldn’t let the vessel offload, and that would prevent the illegal catch from entering the supply chain. – [Narrator] Some of
these 200 tonne vessels can carry their own weight in fish. If a ship’s captain cannot
prove the catch is legal, they won’t be able to unload, making their haul worthless. – Morning!
– Morning! – Okay, great. So, what you’re seeing now
is this vessel unloading tuna because it’s past the inspections. These types of port
state checks are reducing opportunities for illegally
caught fish to landed and enter the seafood supply chain, which is fantastic news
for ocean conservation because it means that it’s
harder for illegally caught fish that’s potentially caught
in a marine protected area to be landed and sold in the market. – [Narrator] New technology
is allowing the ocean to be monitored in a
practical and affordable way, providing the first real hope of enforcing high sea marine protected areas, and fighting illegal fishing globally. – This type of work that we’re doing, if that was multiplied across
the largest ports in the world the impact would be tremendous in terms of ocean conservation. – [Narrator] But technology
alone won’t save the ocean. (slow instrumental music) Back in Mexico, marine biologist,
Professor Octavio Aburto is making his last dive of the
day on the Cabo Pulmo reef. (splashing) (serene instrumental music) Our ocean is facing its
greatest ever challenge. Over fishing, pollution,
and climate change are all threatening the
health of a resource on which the whole world depends. – We are losing a lot of the species. We are losing a lot of ecosystems. And many coastal
communities also are losing their resources to survive. So, we must act now if we want to recover and protect the oceans and help the people that depend on these resources. (auspicious instrumental music) – [Narrator] Marine protected areas can come in many forms. But if they are to be effective, they must align the need for conservation with the needs of those who depend on the ocean for survival. In order to avoid disaster, and to ensure a sustainable
supply of fish for the future, far more of our ocean
needs urgent protection. (auspicious instrumental music)

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  1. always china with their superstitions, consume rhino horns for … consume that for that…. ffs so many species are in danger for stupid reasons.
    nobody can stop the chinese but the chinese.

  2. Get a real life animals take care of themselves man take what they need only they pushed global warming when that's a lie the earth goes through catastrophic disasters all throughout history of planet. Bible revelations proves this. Globalist want to get rich off earths changes! Where did mayans disappear to out of Mexico oh asteroids Noah floods earthquakes all part of Creator God plans!

  3. i always saw sea Shepard as kinda stupid for their fight against whaling in Norway. which is legal and non threatening to the eco system.

    but this is cool.

  4. Humans are the most evil disgusting life forms on this planet. They murder everything, eat anything that moves, destroy creatures natural habitats and exploits all resources to the detriment of all non human lifeforms. Humans are the only life forms in the Earth's history to actually destroy this planet and wipe out most of the other life forms. The human population is increasing exponentially whilst the rest of the animals are declining at faster rate with many species becoming extinct. The fishing industry is industrial scale genocide against sea creatures.

  5. I made a doc on overfishing 3 years ago with the same title and a curiously similar title sequence…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YACTNvuijQY

  6. What would save the oceans stop chemtrailing spraying aluminum, barrium, strongthium, lithium,that's what's killing the world not good people but bad people with bad intentions, speak up people now !!!!!!!!!!!

  7. The economist is for globalization ,they want to blame problems on people but not the evil people destroying the Earth on purpose to control humans , have they ever talked about stopping chemtrails ?? Why are they spraying us like bugs ?? Wake up ,look up you have kids and grandkids to think about

  8. Of course we can all do our part to clean and protect our oceans. May all countries and people join in the maritime effort. Let’s all do our part – whether government, business, organization, or individual. We can do it. May we all move to eco friendly vegan sustainability!

  9. This vedio is good. I have a qustion why it do not tell us who are the main consumers/clients of the wilde fish or ivory? They are not the most of Chinese. We can not afford them. China has a lot of factories to process the raw materials. But who buy the products? Should they be responsible for the market?

  10. God is missing one O to be Good. Prophecies Celestial Terrorist Threats. No Good deed goes unpunished. God will always win, in the name of love. God is Evil. Humans can not compete with Thy Evilness.

  11. The Fish populations have become so depleted, Many sea birds have evolved into
    scavengers. I am a couple of miles from the coast & Every day the sea gulls hang out
    on the rooftop of my shop and scavenge scraps of fast food that are left by the school
    kids in the adjacent school yard. It is really sad. Normally these Birds should be at the
    beach catching fish, in their normal habitat. Many of the sea birds hang out at dump sights
    & scrounge for anything they can find to keep from starving, probably consuming pieces of
    plastic in the process, Lots of dead sea birds have plastic stuck in their digestive tracks.
    I think Fishing should be banned for at least 5 years to allow some sort of recovery, But it
    will probably take longer than that. Scientists say the Bluefin tuna will likely become extinct
    very soon as the remaining fish stocks are near the lower end of sustainability, & the Blue fin
    remain in huge demand due to the large profits raked in by the greedy fishing industry.

  12. next time, let them speak in their own language and then translate it through subtitles. it will be easier for the interviewee and the people watching the video

  13. Let's all do our part!! Write to our local senators, demand protection of our sea!! Inform more people, practice and teach conservation methods. We can all sign up to help volunteer and clean up our oceans too let's spread the word and get everybody involved.

  14. The Chinese will be responsible for the mass extinction of some of the world's most endangered species.And the destruction of the worlds ecology from the theft of other countries resources in the name of the people's republican Army.This race of people have respect for any form of life.These fucking dog eating bastards. They can't think for themselves so they steal everybody else's ideas to try to become some kind of super race.Why is it the people we fight for during war always seem to be are enemies in the end?

  15. I have a deep respect for chinese culture but consuming animal parts is no way of bettering your health. Get a kuvings juicer or a commercial blender for fruits veggies and herbs that will increase your health more then any fish or tiger parts. Plant and medicanal herbs even algea can enhance your health.

  16. I plan to join Sea Shepherd sometime soon. You can too here: https://www.seashepherdglobal.org/get-involved/volunteer-sea/

  17. I refuse to be harsh to those who spoil life in the water. I'm proud of you guys who can keep life underwater. I felt very much when I was a part of this team because I could save the animals from a man who was hungry for his greed.

  18. I'm no economist, but what should be happening with situations like the tuna in Thailand is the fish should be confiscated, offloaded, and given to local people for free. By not letting the ships offload, the fish would just be wasted. This would stop illegal catching because there would be no profit, but until the message got across locals would have a source of food.

  19. all these crews look like idiot look their hairstyle tatoos .how will they think better about ecosystem and human.they dont look like normal people

  20. How can a poor little shit hole country grow to a major world power in just 20 years and still not learn a damn thing? Fuckin China man. They fucked up quicker than any country the has risen to power.

  21. The vessel unloading its catch in Bangkok is not a fishing vessel but a transshipment vessel. It got its fish from fishing vessels on the high seas.

  22. Someone needs to thanos china. The impact on the planet of losing china would be a significant benefit.

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