“I really think it has to be part of the business model. Marine conservation is not a luxury. It’s not something that you do because you’re a good person. You have to do it because you’re a good businessman.” ~ Truda Palazzos
Based in “the backwaters of Brazil,” José Truda Palazzo has determination and organization. His story proves that anyone in any country can reach out to the rest of the world and be heard. José tells us that he’s been involved in environmental efforts from his teenage years.
All marine conservation issues are connected
José is the co-founder of Divers for Sharks. This organization promotes unity and collaboration within the diving community for shark conservation efforts. José’s presence extends from Brazil to Palau. He reaches any place where the conversation of shark conservation is happening. As he recounts, his experience traces back to the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). He points out that the decline of tunas is an issue very much connected to shark populations. In reality, all of the marine environment and ocean issues are connected to each other in some way.
José became one of Brazil’s leading voices against Japanese whaling
As a writer and explorer, José Truda Palazzo Jr. is an ocean activist. He has dedicated himself to the cause for almost 40 years. Beginning in the 1970s, José became one of Brazil’s leading voices against Japanese whaling. In 1982, José and a group of conservation volunteers rediscovered a breeding population of Southern Right Whales in Brazil’s southern region. For 27 years, José led a research project ensuring the recovery of the species. This group secured the species recognition as a Natural Heritage of Santa Catarina State in 1995. By 2000, 130 kilometers of coastline became a Federal Environmental Protection Area to protect the whales’ breeding grounds.
José served for some twenty years as the official Brazilian representative for the International Whaling Commission.
Creating marine protected areas is a highlight of José’s work.
The establishment of marine protected areas has been a highlight of José’s work in Brazil. He contributed to the creation of Lobos Island Wildlife Refuge, the National Marine Park of Fernando de Noronha, the Environmental Protection Areas of Anhatomirim/Bay of Dolphins, and the very important Laje de Santos Marine State Park in São Paulo State. In 2009, the Pew Environment Group asked José to devise a campaign in Brazil promoting shark conservation. In response, he founded Divers for Sharks. This is now a 60,000+ strong international campaign working to halt the global decline of shark populations, stop shark finning and restrict the international trade in shark fins.
José Palazzo has published 14 books. He is now working on the definitive book of Brazilian marine natural heritage, dosumenting its threats and potentials for future generations. José also helps Céline Cousteau to document and publicize the plight of indigenous peoples of the Amazon.
José’s story illustrates the actions of #OceanChangemakers around the world and the global perspectives they bring to the environmental issues we all face. To learn more about these global efforts see Dr. Sylvia Earle’s article “A Sweet spot in Time” at Ocean Profiles: Sylvia Earle
To learn more about his experiences protecting sharks and marine education message: See José ‘s entire interview at Blue Ocean Summit 2015.