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WHY THE CCS?

The oceans are the largest ecosystem on Earth, they provide us with most of our oxygen and food and abound a huge biodiversity, including 90 species of cetaceans. Cetaceans are the group of marine mammals that is composed of whales, dolphins and porpoises. As evolved as fragile, those species deserve all our attention to be conserved. In the Caribbean, 33 species have been seen but are highly understudied. Our warm region is an important area for many biological activities of cetaceans, such as feeding and reproduction. Unfortunately, the beautiful diversity of cultures throughout all the islands of the Wide Caribbean Region (WCR), makes it complicated to preserve animals that travel multiple islands wide distances. It is therefore up to us humans, to adapt together and unite by breaking down our barriers to protect them despite our borders, our different laws, languages and cultures in each of our territories…

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The Caribbean Cetacean Society (CCS) is an NGO created by two marine biologists from Guadeloupe and Martinique islands in 2020.

This NGO is a french association (loi 1901), based in Martinique that aims to work at the Caribbean scale, to improve cetaceans conservation through international cooperation.

We are powered by a community that includes local and international directors of NGOs,

researchers, lawyers, government representatives and passionate people and experts,

all sharing the same purposes.

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OBJECTIVES

 

"We protect what we love and we love what we know" stated Commandant Cousteau.

Our objective is thus to get to know better, scatter and share the knowledge on cetaceans. In this purpose, we stand to pilote cooperation between the islands to fill the gap of data and thus set up appropriate and effective conservation measures with each territory. We also aim at disseminating the information already available concerning existing threats, raise awareness towards local populations, but also at helping actors and governments to answer conservation needs.

COOPERATION

Sharing is caring. Break our boundaries to protect cetaceans together

✔ Gather stakeholders and decision makers from each island

✔ Share and homogenize local initiatives
✔ Promote exchanges and pooling of efforts

Conservation

Support conservation policy with strategic document and establishment or management of MPAs. 

✔ Offer expertise in the writing of strategic documents
✔ Support the establishment and management of marine protected areas 

✔ Participate in achieving the objectives of already existing marine protected areas

Knowledge

We protect what we love and we love what we know. Science is the base to better conserve.

✔ Train stakeholders on each island
✔ Coordinate scientific campaigns at large scale

✔ Gather, analyze and scatter datas

CoMmunication

Valorizing the work of the community and improving awareness. 

✔ Valorize knowledge and actions of the network

✔ Lead awareness campaigns

✔ Gather and popularize scientific information to make them easily accessible to everyone

 
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FOUNDERS

The founders are two scientists specialized in marine ecology, passionate and committed to environmental conservation, Jeffrey Bernus and Laura Pittino. Native to Martinique and Guadeloupe, they studied in the Caribbean, then in France, in Belgium, in Canada and in Australia. Then they came back to their home territory in order to get involved and work for institutions as natural protected area managers such as the National Park of Guadeloupe and the Agoa Sanctuary (French Biodiversity Office). Recruited to build a network of stakeholders involved in the conservation of marine mammals throughout the Wide Caribbean Region, they fell in love with the topic. Thus, with the support of the recently-built network partners, they decided to found the CCS in order to perpetuate the actions initiated and sustainably strengthen the conservation of marine mammals at home.

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Laura Pittino

Co-founder  -  NGO Secretary

Laura was born and raised in Guadeloupe. Always close to nature and at sea every weekend, she’s always had a fondness for good causes fights.

 

She studied marine biology first at home and then in Belgium and south of France to get a Masters degree in ecology and biodiversity conservation. Starting her firsts experiences in the research field at the CNRS in french Guiana on sea turtles and at the University of Western Australia on sharks and fish-habitat relationships, her interest has then been orientated towards predators interactions with their ecosystems,  intra/interspecies functional ecology and animal behaviour.

Back to her native island in 2016, she worked for the National Park of Guadeloupe and managed several projects of awareness raising towards local populations and international experts meetings organization. She has worked for several other public institutional organizations (DEAL, SPAW-RAC..) and was nominated as marine ecology expert at the Scientific Council for Regional Natural Heritage (CSRPN).

 

She was then hired at the Agoa sanctuary to work on the building of a marine mammal conservation network in the Caribbean and conducted several international workshops. Falling in love with the purpose and the growing network, she feared the end of the funded project and its beautiful opportunity for caribbean islands connexion.

 

Thanks to some meaningful partnerships and a life changing field mission on sperm whales monitoring in february 2020, she finally took a stand and decided to co-found the Caribbean Cetacean Society NGO, in order to provide a long term, local mainstay for this beautiful and successful cetacean conservation initiative.

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Jeffrey Bernus

Co-founder  -  NGO President 

Jeffrey grew up in the Caribbean. He started diving at the age of ten thus observing anthropogenic pressure deteriorate his environnement years after years. Doing marine biology was then a mission to be able ​​to protect home.

 

At the age of 16 he built his first project with a team of volunteers to clean all the beaches impacted by the famous “Tours des Yoles”, a cultural event in Martinique, thus removing 12 tones of trash in 1 week.

 

He travelled to Canada and France to obtain a Masters degree in Biodiversity Management and in the Bahamas (Cape Eleuthera Institute), in Australia (Australian Institute of Marine Science) to gain more experience on sharks, rays and turtles. His studies were focused on diversity distribution and assemblages of deep waters sharks, Hidden Markov Models for megafauna tracking, predators role related to risk effects, the importance of environmental variables on fish assemblages and distribution...

Then he decided to go back to his native region and work for the government at the national park of Guadeloupe. This experience led him to be the scientific coordinator of the Caribbean Marine Mammal Preservation Network (CARI'MAM) project for the Agoa Sanctuary (Office Français pour la Biodiversité, European funded project). His principal missions were to create a network of scientists, to standardize protocols for marine mammal conservation, to organize workshops and training, coordinate scientific campaigns, emulate capacity building and represent the project at international conferences.

 

Wanting to go beyond the governments’ limitations and objectives for marine mammal conservation, he decided to co-create the Caribbean Cetacean Society to ensure the sustainability of this new community created with this network.

 

His dream in the long term is to create a MPA at the Caribbean scale dedicated to megafauna conservation, to better protect these fragile species who can't understand our frontiers.

 
Plan

PROJECTS

We are planning several projects in order to achieve our objectives (the list for 2021 will soon be available). 

 

Your support will always be beneficial to help us achieve our missions!

 

We try to build all our proposals in collaboration to help at local and Caribbean scale. We work together with our community to make sure there is a conservation benefit and communication impact in each project. We foster non invasive and innovative methods such as neural networks for our studies.