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Tri-National Initiative Brings Cuban, Mexican Researchers to American Soil to Improve Gulf of Mexico

November 05, 2013

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas- The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted the 6th annual Tri-National Initiative for Marine Science and Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, Nov. 3.

The event helped resolve the communication barrier, while increasing positive research solutions, because of the face-to-face interaction.  The workshop has grown since its 25 members during their first gathering in Cancun, Mexico, and continues to progress each year. This was the first year for Texas A&M- Corpus Christi to host the event. 

“The Tri-Initiative gives us the ability to exchange information from researchers in Cuba and Mexico,” said Dr. Larry McKinney, Executive Director of the HRI. “There are numerous problems in the Gulf of Mexico so through this event, we are able to work together and deal with these issues.”

During this workshop, researchers discussed the current issues with the Gulf of Mexico and exchanged local marine knowledge to find solutions.  Some of the topics on the agenda were sea turtles, coral reefs, marine mammals, sharks, and marine protected areas. 

There were 15 Cuban researchers in attendance at the meeting, making it the largest group from Cuba to ever attend due to the strict travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba. The difficulty with Internet speed in Cuba has also hindered researchers from communicating via the Web internationally, making the extremely valuable to marine research. 

“During the workshop, we have been able to get together in person and focus on the issues with the Gulf of Mexico,” said  Dr. Wes Tunnell, Associate Director of the HRI. “So much has happened during this short day, and we are already discussing extending next year’s workshop over a few days to get even more accomplished.”

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