This is my second mission on the M/Y Golden Shadow and I have enjoyed the company of the many scientists of different expertise and cultural backgrounds who have joined us. One participant in particular has really caught my attention. All of us here love the ocean, but Joseph Campanozzi-Tarahu perhaps readily expresses this passion more than anyone around with his high spirits and energy in all activities, happy disposition and ready smile.
Joseph was born and raised in Tahiti, spending much of his childhood frolicking in the ocean. Because of his passion for the sea, he resigned from his work as a training coordinator with the Administration of French Polynesia to work for the Department of Marine Resources (DRM). This way, he can spend more time in the water and in the field, coordinating, organizing and preparing for the various activities related to the management and monitoring of fish aggregating devices all over French Polynesia, as well as participating in other research projects. His job also allows him to ensure that laws and policies pertaining to marine resource management and conservation are implemented and followed.
Joseph simply loves being out on the water, whether diving, fishing or operating the boat. He is very happy to take part in this expedition, and when asked what his main task was he jokingly said “to make sure that Serge is doing his working well”. Seriously, though, he is actively assisting in the sea cucumber and oyster research activities on board the Golden Shadow.
One of Joseph’s aspirations is to be able to contribute more energy and dynamism to enhance and recharge DRM. He understands that there is much to do to protect the fragile marine ecosystems of French Polynesia, which are slowly, but surely being impacted by exploitation, growing human populations in certain localities, and a lack of awareness of the importance of managing and sustaining these resources. Efforts to address these problems are especially challenging due to the wide geographic expanse of French Polynesia, which makes implementation of projects a logistical challenge. Despite this, Joseph continues to do all he can; together with all his technical, scientific and administrative efforts, he takes time to inspire young kids to learn about the sea and develop a healthy respect for all creatures living in it. This includes not only the charismatic species, such as whales, sharks and corals, but more importantly the species that are exploited for food.
Joseph is very happy to take part in this mission. He hopes that the experience will enable him to take back some new insights in research and conservation. Though he says his English is limited, he has enjoyed the company of the different participants and crew from various countries and cultures – “Even the little Filipino guy”- ME!
(Photos by: Badi Samaniego)
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