EUROPEAN UNION OF AQUARIUMS CURATORS Conference 2019 october 14 - 18

Tuesday, October 15

  • PhD Sciences de Gestion, Paris 2 Pantheon Assas
  • Veterinary PhD, 1999, Maisons Alfort 
  • Degree in Social Psychology (2002)
  • Master General Management, MBA Change Management & Innovation (2008)
  • Past member Executive Committee Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management
  • Certified Coach – ComProfiles®, PNL
  • Dean, The NEXT MBA – Founder & President, TEDxAi

The reinvention of Public aquariums social impact in a changing society

As humans, we have for centuries tried to differentiate ourselves from the animal kingdom, forgetting sometimes our key role within an integrated natural ecosystem. Too often mankind observed and dealt with animal life as an external stakeholder. Pinnacle of the known unknowns, mostly hidden to direct sight, the unexplored depth of the oceans has given birth to many myths, legends and mysteries, as oceans represent more than 70% of Earth surface and almost 95 per cent of living species, a significant share of marine life being still unexplored. 

While the rise of technologies could make us less and less human, a paradoxical effect is rising: we increasingly understand the strong need to relate more, as individuals, citizens and societies to our natural environment and roots. 

Developing research, fostering education and spreading knowledge about marine life, public aquaria have up taken the challenge to help us discover, understand and protect marine ecosystems. 

More and more, they are becoming cultural and educational hubs, embodying our shared will and duty to protect our natural resources and nurture biodiversity. Bridging science, education and culture with a unique combination of top-notch research, pedagogy and experiential learning, they inspire their public and cater this growing need for understanding better, and nurturing the world we live in.

Marco Weydert got his Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of California (1985). After a few years of research, he joined the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, to work on the Marine Sciences and Technologies Research Programme. After some other assignments, he joined the Marine resources unit in 2014 and the Healthy Seas and Oceans unit on 1 June this year.

Connecting our seas and ocean with our citizens

The author will discuss the importance of the oceans for our planet, climate, food security and well-being of us all. Urgently a major effort to make citizens aware of the importance of a healthy and productive ocean is needed.

Gilles Doignon studied Marine Zoology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). 

After 8 years in research, he became an adviser to the aquaculture and fisheries sector in Wallonia. He then worked for several NGOs, campaigning on discards for Oceana and as Global Seafood Leader for WWF.

He joined the European Commission in 2008, spending 10 years at DG Maritime Affairs & Fisheries on EU funding, scientific advice and communication. He was the Communication Coordinator for the 4th “Our Ocean” international conference hosted by the EU in 2017. He joined the DG Environment Communication Unit in June 2018.

World Aquariums against marine litter

Launched in the framework of the 4th Our Ocean conference, the “World Aquariums against marine litter” campaign was so successful that the EU has decided to make it permanent.

Coordinated by the European Commission and the United Nations Environment Programme, the global coalition is supported by the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, the European Union of Aquarium Curators, the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the U.S. Aquarium Conservation Partnership and the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

The network currently includes 185 aquariums raising awareness about plastic pollution in 41 countries.

Their actions reached millions, and helped prepare the political ground for the adoption of a new EU Directive on Single-Use Plastics in 2019.

In the wake of this impressive success, the European Commission is now hoping to build a new global coalition around Biodiversity, as scientists warn that 1 million species are currently at risk of extinction.

This coalition will be open to Aquariums, Botanic Gardens, National Parks, Zoos, and Natural History and Science Museums.

Institutions will be invited to call on governments to agree decisive and urgent measures to restore and protect the planet’s wildlife, and to adopt a New Deal for Nature at the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in China in October 2020.

Dr. Paul Boyle is National Director of American Humane’s Global Humane CertifiedTM program. This worldwide certification program is the first of its kind solely devoted to helping verify the welfare and humane treatment of the millions of animals living in zoos, aquariums, and other zoological venues. American Humane is the largest certifier of animal welfare in the world. 

Previously, Paul served as Senior Vice President for Conservation and Education at the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), which manages the accreditation of zoos and aquariums serving 200 million people annually. His research seeks to apply social and other scientific findings to expand conservation outcomes and to advance animal care and welfare globally. A conservation strategist, Paul works with nature-based organizations on environmental education and public engagement in conservation.

Dr. Boyle also served as Executive Director of the New York Aquarium, part of the Wildlife Conservation Society.  He founded The Ocean Project and co-founded the World Ocean Network with 2,000 partner organizations in over 100 countries. He continues to serve as Chairman of The Ocean Project and worked with colleagues from around the world to influence the United Nations to designate June 8 as World Oceans Day.

Dr. Boyle earned a Bachelor’s in Biology and Marine Science at Northeastern University, and a Master’s in Environmental Engineering and a Doctorate in Applied Environmental Sciences at Harvard University. He earned a certificate in Executive Management at the Wharton Business School.

The Global Humane CertifiedTM Program

Animals enrich our lives and our planet, and with challenges facing species worldwide, humanity has a moral and ethical obligation to protect threatened and endangered animals.

In fact, good zoos and aquariums play more vital roles than ever before in protecting species from extinction. Yet, increasingly, people are demanding that the humane treatment of animals in human care be ensured. To fill the vital need for such a program, American Humane, founded in 1877 and, today, the world’s largest certifier of the welfare of animals in working, farm, entertainment, and other environments, developed the first-ever, genuinely independent, science- and evidence-based, third-party audit and humane certification program for zoos and aquariums.

Backed by the most well-respected names in animal science, welfare, and ethics, the standards driving the Global Humane CertifiedTM program help ensure and verify the welfare and humane treatment of animals in human care at the world’s zoological facilities.

Jean-Luc Bourgain

After studying marine biology, Jean-Luc Bourgain joined the team in charge of the building of Nausicaa in 1988 as Assistant Aquarist. In 1998, he took charge of the new exhibition space dedicated to the creation of marine parks and to the preservation of species. He is the Marine Mammals Head Trainer of California Sea Lions.

Member of the Regional Scientific Council of the Natural Heritage of the Hauts de France (CSRPN) and member of the Coordination Mammalogique du Nord de la France (CMNF), he works to the knowledge and preservation of the marine mammals on the French coast of the Strait of Dover.

Dr. Géraldine Lacave has 30 years of experience as a marine mammal veterinary consultant, overseeing many aquaria and marine parks worldwide and has been in charge of the health of the sea lions at Nausicaa since 1998.

She graduated from the veterinary faculty of the Liège University in Belgium and has devoted her carrier to the promotion of medical training in marine mammals working very closely with trainers in the development of good husbandry procedures for the animals in human care.

She is a member of EAAM, IMATA and IAAAM, is Past President of EAAM, past Vice-President of IMATA, presented numerous papers during scientific conferences and regularly offers workshops on marine mammals’ medical subjects.

Evolution of geriatric medicine in zoologic institutions: An example of the contribution of osteopathy in a case of paralysis in a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus)

When one of Nausicaa’s California Sea Lions presented symptoms suggestive of lower limb paralysis, various tests (among which blood analysis, x-ray, ultrasound) were performed. These examinations were unremarkable and no reason for this sudden paralysis could be identified.

The animal eating well and showing no signs of pain, no treatment was installed. It was decided to attempt helping him through the use of osteopathy. In 8 months, the sea lion has recovered some of its hind flippers’ mobility capabilities.

This presentation describes the joint work of the various veterinary approaches and the results obtained.

Wednesday, October 16

  • Dr. Guigone Camus, Social Anthropologist, Pacific islands
  • Scientific advisor, Ocean & Climat Platform

A brief outline of the Ocean’s global aspects in a time of climate change

Briefly recalling several of the impacts of climate change on the ocean that are highlighted by the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), this presentation will emphasize on the major risks to which human populations are exposed.

It will conclude on an outline suggesting that the ocean can be seen as a globalizing and unifying ecosystem for a Humanity facing its future in a time of climate change.

Thursday, October 17

David Johnson is a Director of Seascape Consultants Ltd and Emeritus Professor of Coastal Management at the UK Southampton Solent University and Honorary Professor at University of Edinburgh.

He is a chartered geographer and chartered scientist and has held a Caird Fellowship at the UK National Maritime Museum.

He is a global expert working at the interface of marine science and policy and an experienced and influential advisor on policy and public affairs concerning the future of global oceans.

He was previously Executive Secretary to the OSPAR Commission (2006-2012) responsible for refocusing the work of the Commission including production of the Quality Status Report 2010 and establishing the world’s first network of Marine Protected Areas in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction.

Seascape Consultants managed the EU FP7 MIDAS project (2013-2016), evaluating environmental impacts of deep-sea mining. In 2016 David led an Article 154 Performance Review of the International Seabed Authority. Since 2013 he has coordinated the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative, supporting efforts by the Convention on Biological Diversity to describe over 321 Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas worldwide, and is retained as an adviser to the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Programme.

He also currently leads the policy work package of the blue growth EU H2020 ATLAS project and has been the North Sea focal point for the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Platform. In 2017 he was awarded the IMarEST International Award in recognition of actions to help developing countries improve their ability to comply with international rules and standards relating to marine safety and the protection of the environment.

Count it, conserve it and make it count

Every time scientists explore the deep-sea, they make new discoveries. At the same time marine biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate. Science strives for certainty but it seems certain in the meantime we will lose much of what we didn’t even know we had. Key challenges are the impacts of too many people, climate change and a legacy of poor management and governance. This is exacerbated by low public awareness of ocean issues and lack of ownership:  rhetoric instead of responsibility.

Answers lie in an evolving legal framework, long-term policies and full-cost accounting. It is important to understand losses and trade-offs, to exemplify them and communicate them to decision-makers and the public. We need to recognize the most significant places for marine biodiversity and if possible, restrict impacts on them as well as anticipating future challenges.

For me the role and responsibility of aquariums is to reflect genetic diversity, to interpret and inspire. I admire efforts to tell stories, make it personal, and foster citizen science.  

With a training in biology and a doctorate in oceanology, Nadia OUNAIS has completed a scientific course that after various experiences in aquaculture, led her first to take the direction of the Aquarium of Monaco and thereafter to become operational director of the Oceanographic Institute. She was in charge of the Aquarium, the educational service, public conferences, exhibitions and scientific congresses.
Since March 2017, she has been appointed Vice-President of International Affairs at the Oceanographic Institute.
President of the European Union of Aquarium Curators (EUAC) for 9 years, founding member of the International Aquarium Network (IAN), Founding Member of the World Ocean Network, member of several other international organizations, author of dozens of scientific publications, and diver confirmed.
Appointed Knight in the Order of Saint-Charles by HSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco for his career in 2011.
Honored by the Trident Gold in 2012 by the International Academy of Underwater Science and Technology, the highest distinction of the aquatic world.
Of Tunisian origin, she was awarded in 2016 by the Tunisian head of government with the trophy of Radiant International Tunisian woman.

The World Coral Conservatoire: a Noah’s ark for corals and reef ecosystems
Nadia OUNAIS1, Didier ZOCCOLA 2
1 Institut océanographique, Fondation Albert Ier de Monaco
2 Centre Scientifique de Monaco, 8 Quai Antoine 1er, 98 000, Monaco

Climate change causes global decline of coral reefs. Using the network of World Public Aquariums, we propose to build a “Noah’s Ark” biological repository for corals. Seawater aquaria will serve as a reservoir for the purpose of conservation, restoration, and research of coral reefs to preserve these magnificent ecosystems that provide invaluable services to humankind. In addition to the environmental and scientific interest, this project will provide a global dimension to coral reef education and protection thanks to the involvement of the most prestigious aquariums.

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