The American Blue Economy Podcast with Admiral Tim Gallaudet
Get on board the American Blue Economy Podcast
Admiral Tim Gallaudet launches the American Blue Economy Podcast on ASPN with a jam-packed first episode featuring U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, along with several other former NOAA officials who worked directly on the Agency's development of the Blue Economy Strategic Plan. This expansive episode will set the stage for the rest of the series by covering pre-pandemic trends and post-pandemic trajectories in areas such as marine transportation, ocean tourism and recreation, sustainable seafood, coastal resilience, and ocean mapping and exploration. Come along with Admiral Gallaudet on the American Blue Economy Podcast, only on ASPN!
Tim Gallaudet 0:06
Hello, everyone, welcome to the American Blue Economy podcast. I'm your host Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet. I'm the CEO of ocean STL consulting, and I'm the former deputy and Acting Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Also I was the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for oceans and atmosphere. And this new monthly offering on the American shoreline Podcast Network is brought to you by Coastal news today, and I'm proud to take you on this journey. So first, let me share a little bit about me and my background and why I'm so passionate about the American blue economy podcast. During my time with NOAA, I was the nation's foremost advocate for our oceans coast and Great Lakes. That is how I've been able to put together such a superstar lineup for this podcast series to include several senators, Science Institute, directors, university professors, a national champion surfer, a record setting, free diver, an astronaut, a Coast Guard, Admiral, several foundation and corporate CEOs. And that's just to name a few. So before leading NOAA I served for 32 years as an oceanographer in the US Navy, finishing my career as the oceanographer of the Navy in charge of all of the Navy's ocean research, surveys and activities on the ocean. And my career involves everything about the oceans and coasts and served on five oceanographic ships. I earned a bachelor's degree from the Naval Academy and a master's in a PhD at Scripps, all in oceanography. And I've done such such work in the Navy is making charts in the sea floor, predicting and studying ocean waves, currents and temperature, and even marine meteorology. And I also developed policy at the Pentagon to counter illegal unreported and unregulated fishing. Also, I've been underway on six warships, two submarines, and I've covered enough miles to sail around the world three times. And I had a great time doing it. I also had a tour, which is really fascinating with the US Navy SEALs. And trust me when I say that seals know the ocean better than King Neptune himself. So my passion for the water began even before that, and that was when I was young, growing up on the coast of Southern California, Rob was an all American distance swimmer. And since then, I just had a lifelong passion for the oceans. I've been a coastal resident my entire life. And now I live on the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland's western shore. And, and I've just really just everything salt water or brackish appeals to me. So why this podcast? Well, the first thing we should probably address is, what exactly is the American blue economy. So there are two fundamental elements here. And the first is, you know, the economic piece, the economy of our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes. You know, just think about this, this, this economy of our oceans reaches very deep inland, I mean, think about this 90% of all goods on the planet arrive by shipping and the sea lines of communication. So, you know, not just America, but the globe is dependent upon our ocean economy. And if you're landlocked, in Iowa, for example, the only thing you need to really survive is going to come to you by a ship, medicine, goods, even communications materials. So the other example of that is that tourism and recreation like national parks, like our marine sanctuaries, beaches, and scuba diving and sailing, all these great things on the coasts are really an important part of the economy too, as is other sectors like shipping, offshore wind, energy, oil, and gas and fisheries. So there's this vibrant economic element of the blue economy. But the other element is equally important. And that's sustainability. And we're talking about growing our economy while simultaneously conserving the resources we depend upon for our future and future generations. So that's what we're talking about. And you might ask right now, so why is this even a big deal? Here's why COVID has crushed our national economy. And the American blue economy is dependent is going to be critical to our post pandemic recovery. Another thing environmental threats like pollution, and overfishing and warming, climate change, they're all threatening our our livelihoods and and the economic element, as well as is our human health and prosperity. And the third of these challenges is the fact that we are getting they are getting stressed and exacerbated by our top competitor. And that's China, which is not just a national security threat, but is also making environmental threats and abuses unlike any other nation. And so all of those create a really compelling case to advance and elevate the narrative of the national American blue economy. And that's what I hope to do with this series. So many other venues are really kind of focusing on the negative and the narrative is one of despair. And so I'm hoping that this podcast creates optimism and hope you When I was in the Navy, I never I never talked about losing. I talked about winning. We talked about solutions to problems. And that's what we're going to talk about with this American blue economy podcast. We are going to raise awareness of the challenges that we're facing, but also the opportunities and we're going to identify collaborative solutions to these challenges. And we're going to demonstrate leadership in advancing the American blue economy. So about this inaugural episode, it's a year long series and we're going to have two parts in this first episode. Part One will explore the origins of the podcast, which lie in my work with NOAA leading the agency's blue economy economy initiatives. I did that for four years, and it culminated in a NOAA blue economy strategic plan that was released in January 2021. And a part two will provide a broad overview of the 14 episodes that we plan through May of 2022. On this inaugural episode of our podcast, I'm thrilled to welcome one of the most ardent champions of the American blue economy. Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska. A short time after I launched known as blue economy initiative as the Acting Administrator in 2017. Senator Sullivan called me to testify as the sole witness before the Senate Commerce committee's Subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries, and Coast Guard. It was during a hearing entitled Noah's blue economy initiative supporting commerce, and America's oceans and Great Lakes. And Senator Sullivan has continued his support for NOAA and the American blue economy ever since. And a terrific example, this occurred just this week, when he introduced the cruise act intended to safely resumed Cruise Line operations, which before COVID were a booming part of the blue economy. Senator, so that is great to reconnect with you. Thank you for joining us.
Dan Sullivan 6:49
Hey, Admiral, great to hear from you. And it's great to be on your podcast. And, you know, it's it's a topic that you and I share and have a lot of enthusiasm about. The American blue economy is something that, for my state, the great state of Alaska, this is a huge issue, huge topic, huge opportunity. You know, Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the lower 48 combined. So, we know a lot about our oceans, certainly. And whether it's our fisheries, as you know, over 60% of all seafood harvested in America comes from and is harvested from Alaska's waters, whether it's our tourism economy, and whether it's keeping our oceans healthy. You know, I was really honored Admiral to collaborate with you and NOAA on my first save our seas Act, which was all about ocean cleanup, that you and I actually had the opportunity to go to the Oval Office and have the president sign that bill. And then you may have seen just this past December, my save our seas act 2.0, which was called by the Congressional Research Service, the most comprehensive ocean cleanup legislation ever to come out of the Congress. That was signed into law in December, so it's about sustainable oceans. It's about enjoying the bounty of the seas. It's about making sure we have a pristine environment, but an environment that also Americans, Alaskans and others can utilize, enjoy. Take advantage of that benefits us all. So I'm glad to be on the podcast. And I'm glad you're still focused on this great idea of America's blue economy.
Tim Gallaudet 9:02
And thank you, Senator, the save our seas act version 1.0 and 2.0 were really great things for the American people and the blue economy. I mean, think about this, when you go to beaches, people don't want to go to trashy beaches. And so we're talking about $100 million or so every year in tourism that is lost due to trash and marine debris. And so these two pieces of legislation are going to get behind that. And regarding seafood, very excited about the contributions of Alaska having about a third by volume of our nation's fisheries. In fact, you called Alaska a seafood superpower, sir, during that hearing I mentioned previously and really glad to see Alaska making such important contributions to our American blue economy.
Dan Sullivan 9:48
Yes, we are. We are the superpower of seafood. No doubt about it. That's not a hyperbole that is the truth. But we also take a lot of pride in Alaska, and NOAA is a key partner in this regard, of having one of the most sustainable and best managed fisheries in the world. And as you know, we do that based on data and surveys from NOAA and others, to make sure that we have healthy stocks of different fisheries, and are fishing them only to the point where they remain healthy. We don't want to over fish, these stocks and the data and science that goes into doing this correctly. takes a lot of work. And we do it and take it seriously in the state of Alaska. And so does NOAA. And that's a really important, really important mission of NOAA that we respect. And I fully fully support here in the United States Senate.
Tim Gallaudet 10:54
And thank you for your support there as well, Senator, in fact, the US ranks first in sustainability with regards to fisheries. And in fact, since 2000, we have restored 47 fish stocks back to a healthy status, which is, which is just a really terrific accomplishment. And that stands in stark contrast to what China's doing with their illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in other countries, easy's and so the US is a preferred partner in sustainable fisheries practices, and unexcited to support that going forward.
Dan Sullivan 11:26
Well, I couldn't agree with you more on that Admiral, and you know, one of one of the first bills that I got passed and signed into law. Early on in my first term, I'm just starting my second term in the Senate. But in my first term in 2015, and 2016, I was able to get legislation that implemented the important IUU fishing treaty that you just mentioned, in terms of illegal and unauthorized fishing, that is really, in many ways, the bane of the global seafood industry, for healthy fisheries. And wouldn't you know, it, China's one of the biggest violators of that, you know, they don't play well, and a lot of areas in terms of global trade. And they've been devastating towards fisheries. So the IUU treaty was important. I was proud to have authored the legislation to get that treaty implemented and enacted into law. That's another key area, if we're going to have a strong blue economy, we can have this kind of illegal, unreported and on authorized fishing that too many countries in Asia undertake,
Tim Gallaudet 12:55
indeed, Senator that that legislation is the maritime SAFE Act. And it's will be critical to continue that, to follow that act going forward to level the playing field for honest, hardworking American fishermen and as a counterweight to China's reprehensible fishing practices. And so if I could just finish up, I talked about the cruise act initially that you introduced just this week to restore Cruise Line operations safely all around the country. I think that's going to be an important component of our post pandemic recovery with regards to the American blue economy. Could you say a little a little a few words about that, please? Well, look,
Dan Sullivan 13:31
you know, in Alaska, we we were very proud of the way in which our state was able to handle the health aspects of the pandemic, which obviously hurt so many Americans, so many people globally, you know, with so many hundreds of 1000s of people who perished. That's been a horrible tragedy for our country. And in really the world. My state, there was a lot of trepidation when the pandemic hit. You know, our Alaska Native communities, our indigenous populations, during the Spanish Flu were some of the most severely and negatively impacted communities in the entire United States. We had one of the highest mortality rates in the country in Alaska, and most of that mortality happened in our native villages who were very susceptible to the Spanish flu. So there was a lot of trepidation when the pandemic started in really took off about a year ago. The good news in Alaska was that working with the state tribes, federal government, local communities, we consistently have been the number one state per capita in terms of testing throughout the whole pandemic, the one number one state, per capita in terms of getting the vaccine out which is kind of a mini miracle when You think of how big Alaska is and how sparsely populated our state is with only 730,000 people, and yet we were delivering the vaccine, the, you know, float plane, dogsleds, no machine, you name it, we were getting it out and that Alaska can do spirit. And because of all this, we had one of the lowest death rates per capita of any state, not that horrible experience we had during the Spanish Flu 100 years earlier. So we're proud of this. But our economy has been really, really negatively impacted. The oil and gas industry has taken a real hard hit our commercial fishing industry, as well. And of course, as you mentioned, our tourism industry 1.5 million people were supposed to visit Alaska last summer. on cruise ships, none of them came in this is severely and negatively impacted so many of our great small businesses that support tourism in the state hundreds if not 1000s. Of these small businesses. We believe we're ready for this tourism season, particularly with the vaccination rates being so high in Alaska and across the country. And we think the CDC has not looked at all the data, and the economic impact of having another cruise season, which in our state is only really made through the end of September shutdown. So after many, many discussions with the CDC staff, and the head of the CDC, we decided that Congress should mandate the safe opening of the ability to go on cruises, as some of the cruise ships are looking at, you know, requiring vaccines and other things. These are things that, you know, they're looking at, I'm not supporting that as a federal policy. But we do think that the cruise ships have put out over 70 requirements for regulations itself regulations for healthy cruising. And we think that in conjunction with communities like in my state being ready, so many of the communities in Southeast Alaska, have really, really high vaccination rates. So we think the overall balance should be to safely smartly reopen the cruise ship season for Alaska. And this will save 1000s of small businesses and probably 10s of 1000s of jobs. So that's why I did it with Senator Scott, Senator Rubio of Florida. We hope that we're going to move this bill. And we hope that the CDC In the meantime, is going to take into account not just the issue of the virus, but the overall economic impact and the health impacts of a negative economy that this will have if cruise ships continue to be banned throughout America. So that's the purpose. This, again, is part of our American blue economy, that we need to get back up and running after the pandemic. And we're hopeful that's going to happen in Alaska.
Tim Gallaudet 18:22
Yes, Senator. In fact, that's an important thing for me personally, as well, my family having probably about a dozen cruises under our belt, and so we can't wait to get underway again, too. And so as we finish up, is there anything else you might want to share with us before we close?
Dan Sullivan 18:35
Well, we're just gonna keep working on these issues here in the Congress. These are bipartisan issues, right? We need healthy oceans, we need robust fisheries. We need the tourism that so many people whether from coastal communities or interior of the United States enjoy when they're out on the ocean. And this blue economy initiative that you had so much to do with at NOAA is something that I think all Americans should support and take a benefit and enjoyment from. And as long as I'm in the US Senate, I'm going to continue to focus on these issues as well.
Tim Gallaudet 19:14
Well said senator Sullivan, I also want to congratulate you and your other Alaska congressional delegation counterparts for being named by the Center for effective lawmaking is one of the top 10 most effective lawmakers of the 100 and 16th. Congress. Well done to you, sir. Thank you for being here. And thank you for your service.
Dan Sullivan 19:33
Thank you, Admiral, you too, and keep up the good work.
Tim Gallaudet 19:37
On today's episode. I'm very pleased to be joined by five of my former shipmates from NOAA. Joining us today we have Dr. Stu Levenbach, the former NOAA chief of staff. Welcome, Stu. It's good to have you.
Stuart Levenbach 19:48
It's good to be here.
Tim Gallaudet 19:49
We also have Kevin Wheeler, former NOAA policy director.
Kevin Wheeler 19:53
Thanks for having me, Tim,
Tim Gallaudet 19:54
and Chris Oliver, former head of NOAA Fisheries he was an assistant administrator Noah and Chris, you're gonna soon take a position at Texas, Texas a&m heart Research Institute. So good for you. And thanks for joining us all the way from Alaska.
Chris Oliver 20:11
Thanks, Adam. Well, good to talk to you.
Tim Gallaudet 20:13
And also Brandon Elsner, a senior policy advisor at NOAA headquarters with us and now he's working with the capital economy group. Great to have you on board, Brandon.
Brandon Elsner 20:23
Good to be here, and thank you for having me.
Tim Gallaudet 20:26
And finally, Dr. Lexa Skrivanek. She is the Associate Program Officer with the ocean studies board at the National Academy of Sciences, and was a former john canals fellow in my office at NOAA, was a co author and principal editor of Noah's blue economy strategic plan. So happy to have you here. Lexa.
Alexandra Skrivanek 20:45
Happy to be here as well. Thank you. Well, okay,
Tim Gallaudet 20:47
to kick off discussion, a little background here on the concept of the blue economy first, where did we get this idea from? And I'll give the credit to the former NOAA Chief Scientist under the Obama administration. That was Dr. Rick spinner. And he authored or he was interviewed in article by the periodical Earth Xen in 2016, where he talked about charting a course towards a new blue economy. And interesting coincidence there in that article online, if you look at the picture of Rick, I'm actually in the background. And so it was kind of a weird coincidence, and maybe even foretelling of how I would take this and and run with it. And that's what I've done. And and so what is the blue economy and for no as intensive purposes, we defined it as the sustainable economic contributions of our oceans, coast and Great Lakes. And we had five pillars under our initiative that was marine transportation, seafood, tourism and recreation, coastal resilience, and ocean mapping and exploration. Of course, there are other pillars around the blue economy, that NOAA supported like energy, as well as business development, and we'll talk about those later on in the series. So why don't we take this elevated two off key priority at NOAA, and why are we even having this podcast to begin with? Well, recently, I was very pleased to see the current commerce secretary or the Biden administration, Secretary Rimando mentioned the blue economy as a priority during her confirmation hearing. So what you see here is you have from spinner ad at the the Obama administration, us under the Trump administration. And now Secretary Rimando, under Biden, all saying the blue economy is important, and key to our post pandemic recovery. And so that's what we're talking about a great bipartisan issue, that not only people on the coasts, and our oceans, a Great Lakes can get behind, but everybody in the country can get behind. I mean, just look at some of the figures, our maritime economy contributed $373 billion to our gross domestic product in 2018, that supported 2.3 million jobs. And so it was growing very fast before the pandemic and it is going to continue to grow as we bounce back. If you look at the marine related gross domestic product, in 2018, it was 5.8%. And that was faster than the 5.4% growth for the total GDP. And so you can see it's a rising component of all our overall economy. And despite the challenges of the pandemics, we've seen our seaports at terminals, piers, and are really sort of growing, and that hasn't stopped them. So this, this interesting part of domestic commerce that we support predictions are that by 2025, the our our demand for maritime commerce will double. And by 2030, it might triple. So more on the why I want to go to our former NOAA Chief of Staff, Dr. Stu Levenbach to you are a key player in making the American blue economy and NOAA priority. Tell me your thoughts about it.
Stuart Levenbach 23:51
Well, thanks, Tim. It's a It's a pleasure to be here and reunite with everybody. And one of the things that I think about, and why I like the blue economy is that it's a framework for decision making. And at the heart of decision making its people. And if you look at where people are on our coastline, the numbers are growing. There are a couple of sets of numbers out there. And the most recent ones that I saw is that about 29% of Americans live in coastal counties. And that's about 95 million people and the numbers going up at about 15% per year. And if you look at the parts of the country where it's going up the most, you have places in the southeast and the Gulf Coast, South Carolina, Texas, Florida. And this creates some of the most complex challenges that we have to deal with as a country because all these people are supporting their family and pursuing their livelihoods. And that puts obviously a lot of pressure on our coastal ecosystems and so trying to make decisions in a way that supports coastal economies by the same time. They are the wonderful places that we have around the country. And when you think of Some of the things that we did, and you look at the, for example, the National ocean policy, we try to incorporate quite a few of those. And things like if you if you read it even in the first section, we have things like national security, energy production, seafood, transportation, tourism, coastal resilience and clean and healthy waters. And then it also talks a lot about the role of data and information and science and technology and regional ocean partnerships is a way to bring people together to try to solve some of these challenges related to the blue economy. So So in any event, I think it's just a nice way to brand, a lot of things that we were trying to do.
Tim Gallaudet 25:35
Indeed, that's a great way to put it. In fact, Kevin as the know, policy director, you also had much you brought much to the table in terms of the science and technology and as well as the partnerships aspect that were called out in the 2018, national ocean policy. Can you tell us a little bit a little bit about those things? Sure. Thanks,
Kevin Wheeler 25:53
Admiral, I think from a policy perspective, and we like to blue economy, and whether it become the decadal vision of a Bachelor of Science and Technology, or the ocean partnership summit we had at the White House, I mean, we shaped these in a way to be consistent with our vision for the blue economy where economic activity is not considered mutually exclusive, but rather consistent with and reliant upon environmental protection. We have to look no further than our domestic commercial fishing industry that learned the hard lessons of overfishing decades ago, which now leads the world's sustainable fishing practices. course the challenges that seafood, like energy and minerals and so forth are traded globally, which means if we don't utilize our resources in our easy, will effectively export economic activity and jobs, and re import goods that are often produce manners that are not consistent with our environmental ethic, or our human rights standards. I mean, so rather than close up opportunities for us industries to work with, responsibly within our EEZ, and we look for new opportunities to partner with industry, academia and the philanthropic community, to better understand, better manage and conserve marine resources, and help set the global standards for Responsible ocean use. And we promoted this big because we recognize that the government could benefit from the innovation, the nimbleness, and the expertise that these other sectors bring to the table.
Tim Gallaudet 27:15
Indeed, and very well said there. In fact, I think you really kind of hit it, what we want to get out of this podcast, and now just bringing people together and finding these win win win solutions, you know, like, called out in the last national ocean policy about the environment, the economy and security. Great. Yeah, I love hearing it. And how about you, Chris, who is you were the head of NOAA Fisheries. I think one of our important achievements was getting the president to sign an executive order on promoting seafood competitiveness and economic growth. We'll talk a lot in detail about that in part two, but at a very high level, what are the three main components of that?
Chris Oliver 27:52
Yeah, I think Thank you, Tim. Admiral, and it's fitting to have several of you on this conversation that were so worked so hard, and were so instrumental in getting that executive order, finally signed last May by the President. I think it it's probably the most concrete tangible manifestation of Fisheries part in the blue economy. And I consider it one of the biggest accomplishments of the time that I was there, you know, before years. But you know, we originally was very focused on aquaculture and streamlining the aquaculture permitting process, identifying culture opportunity areas, recognizing that there's only limited headroom and expanding our wild capture fisheries. But we expanded it to bring in two other primary legs of the stool and that was the the regulatory and D regulatory environment of our fisheries management program. Working with our regional Fishery Management Council partners and our interstate interstate fishery commission partners to identify various regulations, the fisheries being one of the most highly regulated industries in the country to identify deregulatory actions and being consistent with previous presidential executive orders to help relieve the regulatory burden. And also consistent with one of our National Marine Fishery services old priorities, which is maximizing fishing opportunities, both commercial and recreational while ensuring the sustainability of our fisheries and fishing communities. And the third leg was really more in the international arena. And that is looking at our seafood trade deficit. And looking at our seafood trade and tariff policies it established seafood trade taskforce that NOAA was intimately involved in and also reaching into the area of IUU fishing, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and the high seas that damages not only our our own fisheries, but worldwide, our fishing Trees economies. So there's really three big legs of that stool that I think are really important. And hopefully, the momentum to carry those forward cuts across any administration. And I think and I hope that it will,
Tim Gallaudet 30:13
I'm sure to Chris, you did great work there. And I'm watching a lot what's happening now, and the administration and of course, you know, countering illegal fishing, especially from China is a top priority. It's just not an economic priorities national priority. We'll talk about that later on the episode about national security. And, of course, I'll watch what your great teams and you're doing at the National Marine Fisheries Service, and they are all in about promoting our own, reducing that seafood trade deficit through building domestic aquaculture, which I think is going to be a great way to do that. So wonderful. We'll get more, we'll talk more about that in part two of this podcast, live trigo. We're down to Brandon Elsner, who is one of our senior policy advisors. And Brandon was detailed to the White House's office of the Council of Environmental Quality. And he led an initiative to develop a national ocean mapping and exploration and characterization, strategy and implementation plan. He got that approved through a presidential memorandum that he worked on and got the president to sign. And that turned out into the strategy and the policy that we lead in the interagency. And I want to ask you brand new what motivated that why well got the White House interested in characterizing and mapping our oceans in our exclusive economic zone.
Brandon Elsner 31:25
Thanks, Emerald, well, I think it's, you know, kind of easy to point out in just the resources that we have in our ocean and, you know, mapping and what we have mapped, we've only mapped 40% of our ocean. But you know, there's energy resources, there's critical minerals, and there's other things like deep sea corals, fisheries habitat, and I think the previous administration knew that, you know, they knew that there was a lot of unleashed potential in our oceans. And not only what we can get out of the oceans, but also what it takes to get those in terms of partnerships and things like that. So, you know, the White House was all on board, you know, we've kind of sold it as just cross sector partnerships, and really promoting the blue economy. And there was three parts to the presidential memorandum that President Trump signed in June 2020. And that was, like you mentioned, the national strategy for mapping it not put together a national ocean mapping exploration council that essentially is interagency partners. We're really elevating ocean exploration in across the interagency not only within NOAA, but then also there was the section on mapping Alaska in the Arctic. And third part was efficient permitting, you know, we have people come to us wanting to explore the ocean, and they don't even know where to start or turn to in terms of permitting. So you know, there's the old adage, if you can't measure it, if you can't manage it, if you can't measure it, and so, you know, mapping, characterizing and exploring that is the first step to that.
Tim Gallaudet 33:06
Exactly. In fact, if you look at what we're doing in space, and we know much less about the deep ocean than we do about what's between us and Mars, this is something we should definitely get behind. Well, lastly, on this first part, I want to turn it over to Dr. Alexa Skrivanek, who was my canals fellow in my Office of the Assistant Secretary, and also, who now currently is with the ocean studies board of the National Academies. And as the principal editor and co author of Noah's blue economy strategic plan Lexa, I saw that you did a wonderful thing you brought together all the various line and supported offices within our agency, and you got them to work together on developing actions in the plan were lead and supporting offices were working together. And and they're implementing that right now. And I think that's what we want to do at a national level with this podcast is bring people together to foster collaboration, and get sectors working together and create more than we could do separately and alone. And so if I could ask you about how many folks were on this executive queue and how many people have brought together and contributed to this plan.
Unknown Speaker 34:13
Definitely, so it was a really exciting opportunity to help formalize NOAA's blue economy effort by co authoring this plan and organizing the will county executive committee that contributed to it there were approximately 30 members on the committee from all line offices of the agency as well. It's like you said a few staff offices who work together over the span of only about five months or so to identify and organize concrete examples of how those people policies, products and services intersect to support blue economy growth in both a sustainable and responsible manner. As you know, as I was working on this initiative, two things surprised me the first being that it actually came together successfully so quickly. And I think that that's largely due to strength of leadership. clear vision established at the start of this initiative by all of you on this call, but also the collaborative nature of the agency and the willingness of staff to not only connect their work to blue economy outcomes, but to take the time to identify common objectives and actions between offices across the agency that they were willing to collaborate on moving forwards. Second thing that surprised me was that, you know, being new to the agency at the time, the diversity of the contributions to the plan, and in the tourism and recreation sector alone, knows engage in a variety of activities from improving weather forecast to conserving coral reefs, removing marine debris, restoring habitats, protecting endangered species, preparing the nation to respond to oil spills, as well as designating and expanding our national marine sanctuaries. In the seafood sector. For example, it was working with interagency and international partners, developing new tech to ensure that sustainable and legal fishing practices counter illegal fishing, which has far reaching consequences for national security as well as marine fisheries and it as we saw this year with the the unfortunate situation of ever given in the Suez Canal, the agencies currently working to develop products that enhance the safety of marine transportation, and commercial shipping. For example, the NOAA physical oceanographic real time system reports Partnership Program is expanding. But you know, one of many activities outlined in this plan, which I could talk all day about, but it's worth repeating that there are numerous examples in it of cross line collaboration to forge partnerships, ply emerging s&t, a variety of other things. This idea of cross line or cross sector collaboration to advance the blue economy is echoed in a couple of initiatives that I'm very excited about them at the moment. The first is that the National Science Foundation recently announced a new funding opportunity for ocean science called the network blue economy convergence accelerator. And so this program is designed to create a smart, integrated and connected open ecosystem for innovation related to ocean science exploration, and sustainable use and to support projects that encourage multisector partnerships, but also produce various products, processes and resources that will allow the nation to develop avenues for more sustainable engagement with the ocean, both as an environment or as an ecosystem. But as a resource. The second initiative that I'm excited about is the decade for of ocean science for sustainable development for the years 2021 through 2031, which is a quite broad opportunity for again, cross organizational or multi sectoral collaboration in pursuit of the global Sustainable Development Goals. And so the National Academies is actually supporting the US National Committee for the decade invites American organizations to join the ocean decade us Nexus, for example, to disseminate news about blue economy activities going on across the country, and also to contribute ideas or ocean shots, for ambitious transformational research concepts to support various blue economy sectors and the Sustainable Development Goals. So it's definitely a lot going on with a running theme of multisectorial collaborate, collaboration.
Tim Gallaudet 38:31
Very nice, like so that was great. In fact, the ocean shot concept was something you might remember and Stu, I think, and Kevin, well, that that's how we were characterizing this blue economy initiative. I actually called it a national marine moonshot. And so ocean shot better way to say it. Just glad to see we're all thinking about the same thing. big bold actions to sustainably develop our American blue economy, protect our oceans, and enhance prosperity security. Well, great, everybody. Thanks. This has been nice to go through. Now let's talk about what we have ahead. And part two of this podcast we're going to talk about the 14 topic areas in each episode of the series. And beginning in May, we're going to go and explore marine transportation and we have some great guests. I won't repeat them all. But the highlights include Admiral rich Timmy, he was the chairman of the Coordinating Board for the committee on the marine transportation system. He relieved me as the chair so I had that job for about a year. This is the interagency body that is a cabinet level body that it works on working together to advance marine transportation issues like the big infrastructure initiative that the vice administration has announced that includes a large part of Port development. And we're also going to have for example, Josie quantrill is the executive director of the the interagency ocean Observing System Association. So ocean observations They're really critical, and to support safe marine transportation. And then we'll have some others. We have a surveyor from the US Army Corps of Engineers, and and others. So it's going to be an exciting episode. And why is this important? Well look at economic economic activity from American seaports. If you just look at the period between 2014 and 2018, that is increase in that activity was by 70%, to a total of $5.4 trillion. That is 26% of our GDP. So our seaports are the lifeblood of our nation. And as as Lexa mentioned, the MV ever given blocking the Suez Canal demonstrated that, that marine transportation is the lifeblood of the planet. So it really is going to be an exciting episode. Now Lexa, you talked about this ports system, the physical oceanographic real time system that NOAA operates. And this is about providing weather and ocean information to ships to keep them safe and efficient. Now, this is something that I think doesn't get really talked about much in in marine related fields is the importance of a weather and satellites. And we made a number of really remarkable advances at NOAA to protect people's lives and property, because of advances in weather. And I'm wondering, Kevin, if you could just share a little bit about that.
Kevin Wheeler 41:14
Absolutely. I mean, as Lexa mentioned earlier, you have to look no further than the recent blockages Suez Canal to to understand the importance of marine transportation to to commerce, mean about 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal every day, for about $9 billion, that's $400 million per hour. So the economic impacts of our report systems are tremendous. And so to help, you know, enable the safe and efficient operation of our port system, you know, we were able to ask for and receive, you know, budget increase to expand our ports program. And as you mentioned, it measures and disseminates the oceanographic and meteorological data that mariners need to navigate safely. If they can't navigate safely, oftentimes, they can't get into a port, because you know, they have to sometimes have to lighten offshore, then you have to get more you end up having more vessels involved and get more accidents can happen to you more missions in the environment. So the safer we can be, the more information we get the Mariners the better. And of course, that's not the only thing we're doing. Obviously, we had companies like Maersk who agreed to have their entire fleet participate in the voluntary observing ship program, which records and shares data to help meteorologists create more accurate weather and storm forecasts. And then, you know, this ultimately also be used to help create know better atmospheric ocean models, and will help scientists better understand climate change its impact on not just marine resources and maritime ports, but the entire system.
Tim Gallaudet 42:45
Very good. Thanks, Kevin. Exactly. Let me also go to Stu and Stu, you might remember early on while while we were at NOAA, we had lunch with the Coast Guard Commandant. And we talked about a wide range of activities sharing, for example, uncrewed, or unmanned systems, platforms and data to not only protect our mission of protected species and resources, but their mission on enhancing the efficiency of commerce. And I'm kind of curious about what what your thoughts are from that lunch? And if we really follow through.
Stuart Levenbach 43:20
But you know, I think what's interesting about this, Tim, is that once upon a time, there was a report, you may recall called the federal ocean and coastal activities report, that was one of my duties back in the day when I was at OMB, the Office of Management and Budget. And that was, that was a report to Congress that totaled all the spending across the various agencies. And at that time, least, the last report that I could find was 2008. And as a federal government, we spent about $10 billion on various things related to the oceans, and about a quarter of that was on marine transportation. And within that bucket, a lot of the money was spent by the Coast Guard. And so the Coast Guard is a major player when it comes to federal dollars that are spent and specifically spent in support of maritime transportation.
Tim Gallaudet 44:12
Exactly. That's why we partnered with them. And that's why we had that great lunch with the commandant. And so in fact, following through, I ended up personally visiting a number of ports around the country to learn more about how we could advance that partnership and they included Charleston and Miami and Baltimore, Anchorage, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Norfolk port Everglades, and mobiel. At trust me getting on on boats, detour harbors is something I do enjoy. And a key part of that was this program NOAA advanced called precision navigation. And can you tell us a little bit about that, Brandon?
Unknown Speaker 44:46
Yes, sure. Precision navigation is really precisely what it says that, you know, it's the ability of these large vessels to you know, ship safely and efficiently through straits ports anywhere where there's close proximity to the sea floor, nerve channels or other hazards. And it's really using this, you know, data sources, whether ocean observations and other foundational data and in addition to charts to basically allow some of these bigger vessels to get through in in close quartered areas, if there's a big bridge, or, as we mentioned, the narrow channel. One example it's very commonly used is the port A Long Beach, Noah entered into a public private partnership. And the Coast Guard is essentially had a maximal maximum allowable ship draft of 65 feet, even though the channel was dredged much deeper, because of these large, the swells that come into the port, basically, tilt the ships and can cause huge, you know, problems. But with, you know, precision navigation and allowing this foundational data, observations, tides, all that no one was able to basically increase the draft of some of these ships, because they were safely they were able to safely navigate through that. And for each foot of draft on some of these, these big vessels, that's about $2 million of extra product shipped through her vessels. So you know, just being able to use precision navigation, increase the maximum allowable draft to four feet, that's, you know, $8 million, we're talking on some of these cargo vessels per transit. And that's, you know, that's only one vessel. And if you, you know, multiply that by the number of vessels, you know, going in and out every day, that's one great example of, you know, technology, precision navigation, and just really expanding the blue economy using that.
Tim Gallaudet 47:02
Excellent, great story there. I enjoyed telling that branded as well. And so last part of this as though there's this balance between shipping and also the environment. I know Chris Oliver was heavily involved with that, because this endangered species that North Atlantic Right Whale, whose numbers are at all time lows are happen to migrate over shipping lanes. And so uh, Chris, I know, there's a lot lots to say about that whole issue. But I you probably just concisely say that your people do a lot of great work for that. Like, for example, don't they set sort of guide non mandatory guidance for speed restrictions?
Chris Oliver 47:41
Yeah, thank you Admiral. For, for posing that issue. When you think about marine transportation and fisheries generally, there perhaps isn't a very immediate obvious nexus between the two, though, certainly, depending on what shipping is happening where and when there are interactions with fisheries, but the interactions with some of our protected resources like the North Atlantic Right Whale, that we have responsibility for under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, are very important considerations. The two main sources of mortality for right whales, and there's less than I believe 360 of the animals now is entanglement in fishing gear and ship strikes. And so both Canada as well as in US waters, we have both regulatory mandatory in some areas, vessel speed limits near some of the major ports, particularly to minimize those. The incident of ship strikes, there are also a number of other areas where we encourage and implement what are called voluntary ship reductions. And we've had a very good compliance with the industry. So between the two of those, it's a great example of where we do have to balance our, our protected species responsibilities and mandates under those various statutes with with the shipping and marine transportation industry,
Tim Gallaudet 49:10
right, exactly. Very good example. In fact, a little story here I happen to in supporting one of these events to talk about Marine Mammal Protection. I happen to meet in person, this woman named Miranda Cosgrove, who is quite famous for this Disney show called iCarly. And she was there to speak about protecting our oceans and whales. And then I got a great picture with her. And of course, my kids don't even know what I've done. And they don't even know what an animal means. But once they got a picture with this star, Disney star, then I was somebody said that So anyways, nice to see celebrities partner with us to get that word out. Okay, so now we're gonna move on and talk a little bit about the next episode in June. And I purposely took a bit of time to talk about the main episode because this is the next one on deck and we're going to kind of speed things up here to keep this too long. The third episode in June will be on tourism and recreation. And this is a really diverse area as Lexa mentioned, we're going to have some credible people there joining us. Our guests include Margaret Sprague as chief Conservation Officer of Monterey Bay Aquarium. Megan Haney Greer, who is a pioneering and record setting free diver, and conservationist and educator and Ian karns, who is founded surf calm and the Association of surfer surfing professionals, among others, it's gonna be great. And one of the areas that we support tourism and recreation is, is Noah's National Marine Sanctuaries. And still we did a lot of good work with sanctuaries over this last four years. Can you just summarize some of those? Sure, I'd
Stuart Levenbach 50:40
be happy to. And it's interesting because one of the things I know you worked on at NREL with the Bureau of Economic Analysis, creating this new ocean account to track how much of our economy is tied to the oceans, and the biggest, the biggest area is tourism and recreation at over a third of the ocean economy and the sanctuaries are a part of that. And so, you know, sanctuaries in part are built on trust, where different stakeholders you know, trust one another to work out a management plan that that meets everybody's needs and values to the fullest extent possible. And so we were able to designate the first National Marine Sanctuary and 20 years working with the state of Maryland in mallows Bay, which is the Potomac River, and we had a number of other initiatives Noah did, including at the very end expanding by three times the size for the flower garden banks National Marine Sanctuary, and there was also a notification to start the process for a new sanctuary in Lake Ontario, working with some stakeholders with the state of New York. So, you know, lots of exciting stuff happening on the sanctuaries front.
Tim Gallaudet 51:49
Exactly, and I've loved visiting them myself, having done some shipwreck scuba dives in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron, and visits to others as scuba diving in a wreck near the monitor sanctuary, it was a German u boat. Now, another part of tourism recreation, again, is is weather keeping people safe on the beaches and coasts. And and recurrence, for example, are one of the largest sources of mortality. When we're talking about tourism, recreation and satellite. And Kevin, we embark on a number of really terrific public private partnerships to advance weather forecasting. And we also implemented this weather act. Can you say a little bit about that?
Kevin Wheeler 52:27
Sure. I'll talk a little bit about the weather act, obviously, you know, no, as often known most sports, its weather forecast is hurricane tracking, and so forth. And obviously, that is important, and it impacts lives and livelihoods. And so Congress actually passed two other acts in recent years, which is on a bipartisan basis, which is fairly uncommon these days, you know, they basically gave NOAA the ability to basically do a better job and forecasting weather both in the in the short term, as well as the long term and also improve our capability to to forecast extreme events, such as tsunamis, and hurricanes and tornadoes. And at the end of the day, I think the paradigm and we'll talk a little bit more about this later that we're entering into is where Noah is able to share its data. And it's models with the private sector, and academia in a way that basically allows for the entire weather in scientific communities to improve our models and our forecasts and develop products and services that can save lives and create jobs. And so part of that could be anything from you know, forecasting, ways for surfers, to forecasting red tides that protect the beach goers.
Tim Gallaudet 53:46
Right, exactly very important. And I was very impressed to with an initiative that no undertook to partner with surfline, the famous surf forecasting company to predict use their surf cams to identify and improve the predictions for rip currents. Now, there's so much to say about tourism and recreation. Maybe I'll just sort of mentioned two different things. Brandon and I were together at the Seattle aquarium to participate in an event that was about promoting our oceans and an ocean recreation and we got to meet Sylvia Earle and she spoke at the time and that was a pretty remarkable event. And then Alexa and I were in Hawaii right before the the pandemic lockdown and we were able to do some dive and snorkel tourism if you will with manta rays and and that was not a bad way to start lockdown. So we're gonna go ahead though, and just mention one more thing. And and I'll offer stew a little bit and that was about marine debris or pollution. And that's a really big I think tourism recreation blue economy area because no one wants to go to a trashy beach. And so Noah did a great deal of work to advance this and it got me into the White House to sign the save our seas act with a with Senator Whitehouse, and Senator Sullivan, both who will be on the series, and to sign this act, that that's about preventing marine debris and cleaning it up, and it's to tell me a little bit about why the White House got interested, as it get the president to sign this?
Stuart Levenbach 55:14
Well, it's me, it's To me, it's just an example of how you know, policy is about people. And it's finding issues that people care about. And if you've got them in the right places, at the right time, then everybody can pull together to get something done. And so in this case, we had quite a bit of support from the Council on Environmental Quality. And we were able to pitch this idea of trying to get a public signing event involving the president. And, and as a result, a lot of great things happen from that. We were able to that developed into a marine debris strategy that brought all the agencies together, it became a very important issue for the administration and some public private partnerships also emerged as a result. So, you know, there was it was just a really nice teamwork, you know, bipartisan teamwork. And, and I think it all started with, you know, with a push to try to get your folks in the White House involved.
Tim Gallaudet 56:13
Yeah, I was so happy to do that, too. So I ended up coining President Trump and I had coined Vice President Biden prior to that in a different job I had. So now I have two presidents have my coins, I'm gonna see what else I could do. But thank you, Sue, for making that happen. Now, Episode Four in July is on coral reefs. And this is another super rich area not only supports tourism, recreation, it also supports coastal resilience, which is another topic area in the series. And we're going to have two parts, we're going to have a panel on just the coral reef conservation and protection. And then we're also gonna have a panel on the ecosystem and economic impacts. And so we have a really rich group. And just a couple things about why coral reefs matter. I was the US coral reef Task Force chair for about two years. And I like that that was one of the cooler job titles I've ever had us coral reef Task Force chair, and we met in one meeting was in plan we met the president, and we're diving in those amazing reefs. And and then, so we had advanced a number of areas along with our partners like plough as well as us coral reefs. And still one of the other sanctuary advancements you made was with the Florida Keys and their management plan of their their reefs. Can you say a little bit about those? Sure. And
Stuart Levenbach 57:27
this this effort still ongoing here. So this is it, I mean, it but this is, I think, a situation where, you know, there's a lot of interest in trying to do more to recover some of the reefs around the state of Florida and at the same time, out of all the sanctuaries, the Florida Keys, National Marine Sanctuary has the most tourists it may I think, at one point, I recall hearing a statistic that it may have more tourists and even the most visited National Park. So it is a very visited series of reefs and they've started this process and they're going through the National Environmental Policy Act scoping process and hopes to to try to find some strategies identify some strategies everybody can get behind it, improve the quality of those reefs that that so many people visit each year.
Tim Gallaudet 58:12
Right. And in terms of blue economy, the Florida key read the Florida reefs are critical though number I've seen just for the Florida key sanctuary is $2 billion a year. And I've been down there actually several times during the pandemic and have done some dives on the one of their mission iconic reefs, they call them where we saw the remains of a Spanish galleon and those reefs are in trouble. And so this is important work to to support those ecosystems and the the the tourism economies that depend upon them. Now we're going to move forward and go into Episode Five in August, which is about seafood. And this again, it'll be a really rich group of guests, we will have part one with about five people talking about Fisheries and Aquaculture. And in part two, we'll talk about this illegal unreported and unregulated fishing as well as technology and trade. So there's a lot around fishing, and just couple things will dress here that that will we will go into and explore further during this episode. is Chris. I know that we had some real victories for NOAA Fisheries and one was the recovery of West Coast rockfish. Can you say a little bit about that? Yeah,
Chris Oliver 59:20
they Thanks. Yeah, no. And I think that's a good example we had going back over 10 years when we implemented essentially through the Pacific Council and the National Marine Fishery Service, a system of quotas and individual accountability. They really put a lot of onus on the fishing industry itself to manage their fisheries themselves. And I think a prime example of what came out of that was you had a number of West Coast rockfish species that were an essence choke species that were had very low abundance, very low quotas, and were essentially constraining all many of the other fisheries that would Take some amount of those as bycatch. But putting the the system that we put in place that really gave the opportunity and the onus to the fishing industry to manage their bycatch of those species. And through an aggressive rebuilding program that NOAA Fisheries implemented, we were able to recover in a significant way, a number of those rockfish species to a point of abundance where they're no longer not only not no longer constraining other target fisheries, but actually are being able to be fished at a marketable level that allows us sustainable marketing of those fish. And some of those are very high valued fish. So that's, that's a great example.
Tim Gallaudet 1:00:45
That was a good story. The numbers are remember, that'd be a little bit off, but I thought it was something like 900 jobs, or 600 jobs and $90 million of impact. So a great success story there. I should play on to that. In this episode, we are going to get senator Lisa Murkowski to say a few minutes of pre recorded remarks that I had joined Senator Murkowski as well as Senator Whitehouse on a congressional panel about the blue economy in 2018. So you can see there's just great support for all of these. And they really care about Alaska fisheries, because Alaska is our highest value fishery in the country. So much good to say about seafood and fisheries. And that just gives you a little bit of a teaser for what we'll do in that episode. But moving on, let's talk a little bit about what we're going to do in September, episode six is on ocean mapping and exploration. Now, the reason we didn't separate yet out a kind of an energy or another minerals sort of episode is we thought this was the area that we could bring them all together. So we're going to have part one, which is the discoverers. And we're going to talk about some partners with NOAA, and others in the academia that are doing this ocean discovery. And I'm really excited with the technology and tools are dancing in this area. And then we're gonna have a second part this on the competing incompatible uses. So we'll talk about marine met with with marine mammal experts was representatives from the wind energy and oil and gas industries, and others who were involved with pharmaceuticals and critical minerals. Now, this program was almost cut this ocean mapping program and exploration program and NOAA. Before we got there, and we realized we really wanted to turn it around for all the good it can do. So Kevin, one of the most important things that we advanced regarding ocean mapping and exploration involved the follow up from the ocean science and technology partnership summit. And so I'm going to go to Brandon to talk about the partnerships we signed, I wanted to go to you and talk about who we convened to have that discussion who was at that summit. Thanks, Admiral.
Kevin Wheeler 1:02:51
I mean, the idea of the summit was the recognition that we as the federal government can't do it alone. And particularly with regards to oceanography and ocean exploration. There's been, you know, increasing capacity in industry as well as the philanthropic community to actually have access to the ocean access to data and access to some solutions. And so we convene the leaders of all the federal ocean agencies, as well as the leading academics and philanthropic organizations come together and basically talk about several different topics, including exploring the ocean and conserving marine life, and protecting coastal health, as well as you know, promoting food security, and ultimately, also leveraging big data, which was a common theme that that, that we've dealt with at NOAA, from the surface of the Sun to the bottom of the ocean. And, and I think the outcome of these efforts, and Brian will speak to some specific ones was was really developing new partnerships. And so that we can get more out of the data and make it more accessible so to improve to improve our predictive capability so we can better explore managing conserve ocean resources.
Tim Gallaudet 1:04:09
Exactly. So So Brandon, how about those partnerships? Can you just name a few of them that were innovative and really groundbreaking?
Unknown Speaker 1:04:16
Yeah. Um, so one that I think was was really helpful and Admiral, you were you might be able to speak to it better than I can, in terms of Victor vescovo. And going to the the deepest part of the ocean and sharing some of that data. But we also signed almost, I want to say, a dozen or so memorandums of understanding with a variety of companies to help advance the these partnerships, and I know, Admiral, you might actually just want to talk about those, I think you you, you let those in and did a good job.
Tim Gallaudet 1:04:50
Well, thanks, Brandon. It was I maybe pointed in the direction but people like you're the ones that got the good work done, but it's true. Over a dozen partnerships with people like Viking cruise lines or Ray dahlias. oceanex, Paul Allen's Vulcan, the Navy, Scripps and Schmidt ocean Institute. And one that I really thought was fascinating was it you said Victor vescovo is calidad oceanic. And this is the private equity investor and retired Navy Commander who said world depth depth diving records last year in all the five deep ocean trenches, and he's continuing to do it just having discovered the deepest shipwreck ever the USS Johnston last week. So there's this is just a super rich, exciting area to talk about now. Now, there's another thing about this ocean mapping work and that is the increasing use of autonomous systems and our remotely operated vehicles. And in in Brandon, you did a great job by working with Senator wicker to get a legislation on priority commercial technology through ocean partnerships, and it's called the CFO act. And we'll talk about that more during this episode. But just one more thing on this and I want to go over to Lexa who is at the National Academies now and she is really kind of knee deep in a probably probably even higher on on wind studies during the this administration's new wind initiative offshore wind initiative. Alexa, can you say just a bit about what you're doing there?
Unknown Speaker 1:06:15
Certainly, yeah. So, one thing to consider with offshore wind development is the potential interference of wind turbine generators with the performance of ship based radar systems. And this raises concerns for safe marine navigation near or around offshore wind farms. So, an ad hoc committee of the National Academies managed by the ocean studies board will be producing a consensus study report outlining the impacts of offshore wind turbine generators on marine vessel radar and highlighting any techniques that could be implemented to mitigate those impacts. And the intention is for the findings of this committee to inform evaluations of offshore wind project risks to marine vessel navigation by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. So super exciting work, especially in the context of the administrative students announcement of set of actions to expand offshore wind.
Tim Gallaudet 1:07:09
Right now, I'm really glad that people like you are involved. Lexa because this takes this takes serious study to ensure we get these Win Win solutions that we hope to achieve and support with this, this podcast. Let me ask one more thing of Chris Oliver, I think this is in the cool category of ocean mapping and exploration. And that is all the new species we find. Every year, we made a few announcements over the last year, Chris, you have as your team and fisheries, some of your biologists are the best in the country. Can you talk to a few of those?
Chris Oliver 1:07:39
Yeah, that is one of the interesting and cool parts. So the ocean exploration and mapping, I mean, we people maybe don't realize how important our understanding of the bathymetry is to our fishery management programs and our research programs. But as you mentioned, one of the side benefits is cool new species that are discovered. And you can, you know, last I believe it was last year and it's a long process. It took a few couple of years from the first time they discovered to going through the taxonomic review and evaluation process. Mike Ford, Alan Collins, and others discovered this and I can't remember the scientific name, but a really unique, calm jellyfish in very deep water habitat, and it was never before seen species. And so stuff like that really, not only makes it interesting to us and the scientists, but it brings in the interest of the public. And I think that's an important part of that.
Tim Gallaudet 1:08:41
Exactly. I love this story, too. That was I believe the first species ever identified as a new species without actual sampling only through the high resolution video camera on that remotely operated vehicle. So credible story there. Yeah. All right. Well, we're going to kind of approach approach the end. So rather than go through every one of the remaining episodes, I'll kind of just tease everybody and say, you know, watch them when they come. But we'll go here through the agenda quickly in October, we're going to talk about understanding and responding to climate change. And I was very deliberate, entire, entitling that as such, because the first part understanding is really critical to making the right decisions about adapting and mitigating. You really look at reducing the uncertainty through better prediction and better observations. So we're going to have Senator Whitehouse make some introductory remarks. And our panel is really another Rockstar panel. We're gonna have the director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Dr. Pete dometic. Hall, we're going to have Dr. Amy McGovern, who's the head of a new National Science Foundation Institute on artificial intelligence for weather, climate and oceanography and several others there to talk about really understanding climate and getting around it and responding to it intelligently In fact, I Alexa and I went up to one a Noah's premier assets to monitor climate. And that's the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. And so again, really important to understand it. Now going into November, we're going to talk about coastal resilience. And again, that's, that's a really important complex area, because as Sue mentioned, so much of the population is living along the coast. And that's increasing. And one interesting number is the fact that, that if we took every coastal county in the US made them a country, that country would have the third largest GDP in the world, second only to the US and China. So we're gonna have some great experts, and many of them former NOAA leaders that are super smart in this space. And and we'll talk about things like restoring Marsh land in Louisiana that Chris's Office of habitat and conservation LED and I have seen firsthand, we'll talk about the important part of this coastal resilience issue. And that's hurricane preparedness. And again, something so important about it is improving weather forecasting, which Kevin talked about, we did through getting this weather act signed and reauthorized that put together put in place mandates for us to us being known as National Weather Service to improve this weather forecasting. And, and then in December, we're going to talk about ocean stem and workforce development. And that's a really rich area, we'll have a number of experts talking about ocean stem, and we will include some Sea Grant directors, they will talk about workforce development, with a number of blue tech accelerators and incubators, and some of the leaders in that space. And in quick kind of story, one of the accomplishments of NOAA, or last four years was contributing to the national STEM education strategy. And I particularly like this because I had a chance to speak after the NASA Administrator, the former NASA Administrator, Jim bridenstine. And he loved to talk about his agency NASA making these stunning achievements in space. And I kind of went mano a mano with him and talked about our stunning achievements in the deep ocean that we just talked about. So but ultimately, really big contributions to STEM education. Now, I want to ask a few of y'all because we have a program and NOAA that was called the junk mouse fellowship. And I think it was just a hallmark program for for STEM, advancing stem as well as ocean and marine workforce development. And we have three graduates in this room today we have Dr. Su Levon Bach was a canals fellow. And we have we have Brandon Elster was also one, and most recently, Dr. Lexa scrub egg. And so maybe I'll just go with the most recent one Lexa T is great briefly share with us, you know how this experience about STEM development through the canals fellowship helped you?
Unknown Speaker 1:12:50
Certainly Yeah, so the secret knouse fellowship offers a really direct experience working in the executive or legislative branches on latest issues in Ocean and coastal management, fisheries and research. And it was really a profoundly meaningful experience for me to learn how to engage with various stakeholders, from policymakers to scientists, to know partners in nonprofits, or other spaces on a variety of topics that are relevant to the sustainable blue economy. So really, it was a great opportunity to learn how to communicate and to make those connections that I was speaking about earlier.
Tim Gallaudet 1:13:30
Well, you're probably the best example because you are the were the lead editor on this NOAA blue economy strategic plan. So what a great example of the benefits of STEM outreach and education on the blue economy, then this canals program and you personally. So in January, we're going to talk about national security and its Nexus with the blue economy. And of course, economic prosperity supports national security. And there's so much good to say there. In February, we're going to talk about diversity, equity and inclusion in the workforce, the blue economy workforce. And this is part of a large national narrative right now. And we'll be excited to talk about that important area to ensure a more equitable blue workforce going forward. Then the next month in March, we're going to talk about this, this area called the new blue economy, where we're where it's that aspect of the blue economy is becoming more dependent upon data science and technology. And so this is going to be a very interesting one. And will will will address a number of interesting topics using big data, for example, to advance fisheries, as well as marine exploration and wind development and all types of blue economy sectors. Then in April 2022 will talk about blue clusters and business development. And we have a number of national leaders in that space who are working on that those topics. And then lastly, our last planned episode will In May of 2022, and we're going to talk about blue tech. And all these just remarkable advances, for example, like Noah made in areas and their science and technology focus areas that included things like machine learning and artificial intelligence autonomous systems or drone technology, an area called omix, which is basically microbiological big data and Bioinformatics, and cloud and data and even citizen sciences area here. All these feature prominently in the blue economy strategic plan of NOAA. And we want to elevate those nationally. So as we're kind of at the end here, let me just go around the horn and ask any final thoughts about going down the list Lexa, anything from you? as well,
Alexandra Skrivanek 1:15:43
I'd like to start off by thanking you for including me and the rest of us in this conversation on the American blue economy. I think like, as you said earlier, in our session, the blue economy is really a framework for decision making. And as he also pointed out at the center of it are people and in this case, the ocean, which plays a role in stabilizing risk climate, as well as supporting various aspects of our lives every day. So it's a very important topic. And I'm glad that you will be taking us through various blue economy sectors moving forwards.
Tim Gallaudet 1:16:15
Very good. How about you, Brandon? Thanks,
Brandon Elsner 1:16:18
Admiral, the only thing I'd say is, you know, we did this at NOAA, and we did this in the executive branch. But we also have a great partner in the legislative branch. And Congress, many of the topics that we talked about today, they have congressional support on both the House and the Senate. So there is, you know, a lot of a lot of room still to be had, and a lot of growth and a lot of bipartisan support on this topic. So I look forward to seeing where the nation goes in the blue economy in the coming years.
Tim Gallaudet 1:16:50
Perfect. And there's no better authority based on all your time and contributions on the hill. Thank you, Brandon. Chris Oliver, any last words? Yeah,
Chris Oliver 1:16:59
thank you, again, Admiral for inviting me to participate in the conversation. I you know, I said earlier, this strategy that was I believe, came out in January of January 19, is a bipartisan initiative. It should, it can and I hope will be the momentum on it will carry forward through the new administration. I think that, you know, looking specifically at things like the seafood competitiveness, Executive Order, I think the key there is to not lose the momentum that we got going on that. And I think that cuts across the entire blue economy strategy. So appreciate being part of the conversation. Let me know if I can contribute further.
Tim Gallaudet 1:17:43
Absolutely. And thank you, Chris. Kevin Wheeler, How about yourself?
Kevin Wheeler 1:17:47
Thanks, Admiral, I think one of the little economy, obviously, I also think of your leadership style, which is always optimistic and and i think that we've always had an undercurrent of optimism and can do with regards to imagine our ocean resources rather than doom and gloom and cannot. And I think that, you know, we've never tried to downplay the challenges facing the ocean, but rather, you know, organize them in a manner that we believe that elicit greater collaboration, better outcomes. And one thing that we didn't touch on too much today, but obviously, you know, the oceans, it's an earth system. And he, and I think one of our greatest accomplishments, actually, at NOAA was established on the earth prediction Innovation Center, which basically, is a game changer with regards to how we predict weather and ultimately climate. Because by basically taking our weather models and climate models and taking them off federal servers that have, you know, limited to no access to the public, and putting them up in the cloud with partnerships with the cloud providers, such as Microsoft, and Google and Amazon Web Services, we now have the entire weather enterprise having access to data, access to the models, they can improve them. intellectual capacity, quite frankly, it's just going through the roof. And we're going to be able to, to get something closer to Back to the Future. With regards to weather forecasting. We're not there yet. But I think with innovations that we made, as well as using artificial intelligence and machine learning, and machine learning, to call data, so we get the most and use the most impactful data, we're really going to have monumental improvements in our in our weather and extreme event forecasting, which will impact coastal communities, mariners and all Americans.
Tim Gallaudet 1:19:32
Very important point, Kevin. In fact, you're right. I think some of the greatest advances we made over the last four years were regarding weather and climate predictability. And there's so much to say there too, and I will talk about that in the episode on that later this year. But thank you for that. It's great to have you here. Sue. Any final words for us?
Stuart Levenbach 1:19:51
Yeah. Well, thank you. And I'm sorry for the technical problems. But I just want to thank you, Admiral for drawing attention to this issue because these are the most complex issues, I think out of all the policy areas, and certainly that's why I enjoy working on them. And the stakes are high in terms of the biodiversity in terms of the economy in terms of science and technology and the economy and the environment of future. So I really appreciate you taking this on. And I'm looking forward to listening in on the rest of your podcasts.
Tim Gallaudet 1:20:21
Well, right, it's good to know I have at least one fan. Thank you, Stu. It's been great to have you here. It's been great to have you all here. You all did a fantastic job. And this was a lot of fun. So in this first leg of our journey, we set the course for the rest of the series of the American blue economy podcast. And I think we've made great progress towards our objectives to elevate awareness and information exchange, as well as collaboration to identify positive solutions to challenges and expand opportunities, and to demonstrate thought leadership at the national level regarding the American blue economy. I want to thank our sponsors at the American shoreline Podcast Network, as well as coastal news today. This is Admiral Tim Gallaudet, CEO of ocean STL consulting. Please join us for our next episode of the American blue economy podcast where we'll focus on re transportation. Thank you for joining us, shipmates. I look forward to getting underway with you again next time.
Rear Admiral Gallaudet, PhD, USN (ret) is the CEO of Ocean STL Consulting. From 2017-2021, he served as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere / Deputy NOAA Administrator, and from 2017-2019 he also served as the Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere / NOAA Administrator. As Acting Administrator, he led the agency comprised of 20,000 federal employees and contractors managing the nation’s fisheries, coastal resources and waterways, weather satellites, weather services, and environmental research, overseeing a $6B annual budget and daily operations of 18 environmental satellites, 16 oceanographic ships, 9 aircraft, 450 boats, and 400 technical divers, 6 supercomputers, over a dozen laboratories, and several hundred field sites across the country. As the Deputy Administrator, he led NOAA’s Blue Economy activities that advance marine transportation, sustainable seafood, ocean exploration and mapping, marine tourism and recreation, and coastal resilience. Prior to NOAA, Rear Admiral Gallaudet served for 32 years in the US Navy, completing his career as the Oceanographer of the Navy. He has a Bachelor’s degree from the US Naval Academy, and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, all in oceanography.