Blue Ocean is presenting four terrific interviews to share with you on the subject of “Honest Talk About Marine Conservation” with speakers that have experience dealing with local communities in Indonesia; to documenting the sardine migration along the eastern coast of Africa or giving us some tough love regarding the world’s most important conservation issues and the need to act now. Follow these four speakers and many more at Ocean Profiles.



Can I be an Ocean Activist and Run a Successful Business —  Michael AW

michael Aw, ocean activist, shark finning ban, ban on shark finning, sustainable seafood, sustainable choicesMichael AW is an explorer, photographer and author and most important a marine conservationist and in his talk he presents four concepts that are key to helping us understand our impact on today’s ocean issues.

Michael stresses that first, we should eat less fish, and the seafood that we do eat should be sustainable. He informs us that farmed salmon and shrimp that we think are sustainable are not because their farming has a huge impact on the marine environment.

Secondly, Michael believes that educating children is our real hope to change perceptions and actions in the world.  “We must engage the kids in the environmental message” he feels “so that adults will wake up.”

Third, he believes, that when we protect iconic animals like polar bears and sharks, that we are protecting ourselves. And fourth, Michael says that we must each become ocean activists to protect our lives and  livelihoods. A lot of time and money is wasted educating the converted,” Michael points out  “We should reach the general public to convert them. This is the challenge.”

Michael’s accomplishments include wining more than 63 international awards and being named by Outdoor Photography as one of the world’s most influential nature photographers. Michael was awarded the NOGI for Arts in 2013 by the American Academy of Underwater Arts and Science. His pictures and words have featured in National Geographic,BBC Wildlife, Ocean Geographic, the Smithsonian, and Nature to name a few.

To dive deeper into Michael Aw’s experiences as an activist and his breakthrough in getting countries to pass  shark finning bans read “Can I be an Ocean Activist and Run a Successful Business” at Ocean Profiles: Michael AW



Guiding Sustainable Group Trips – Pros, Cons and Caveats — Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock

burt Jones, Maurine Shimlock, underwater photographers, ocean author, sustainable dive business, sustainable travel, coral reefs, marine conservation Maurine Shimlock and Burt Jones are award-winning underwater photographers who divide their time between photographing marine life and leading dive trips to remote and environmentally sensitive areas such as the Solomon Islands, Sipadan, Raja Ampat and Komodo Island.

They have been exploring the Indonesian archipelago since 1992 and have captured thousands of images of its spectacular marine bio-diversity. Burt and Maurine have produced two very popular guidebooks highlighting the world’s richest coral reefs, “Diving Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape” and “Diving Indonesia’s Raja Ampat” not only guide divers on these wonderful reefs but do so by promoting sustainable tourism as indispensable to preserving the area’s marine life. Burt and Maurine started to work with the Indonesian branches of several NGOs in 2002, including Conservation International, to focus the world’s attention on Indonesia’s coral reefs and explain the necessity for urgent marine conservation.

To swim with Burt and Maurine in Raja Ampat and the Bird’s Head Seascape and learn a bit more about their very adventuresome lives read “Guiding Sustainable Group Trips – Pros, Cons and Caveats” at Ocean Profiles: Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock



Why Coral Reefs are One of the Most Valuable Ocean Assets —  Dr. Douglas Fenner

Douglas Fenner, coreal reefs, ocean acidification, ocean issues, marine conservationSpeaking on our subject of “Honest Talk about Marine Conservation” is Douglas Fenner who shares his thoughts on saving coral reefs.  Doug began diving in the Caribbean decades ago  and described the coral reefs of Cayman Brac, Cozumel, Roatan and St. Lucia for the first time. Experiences that eventually led to his research and writing the field guide to Hawaii’s coral reefs..

More recently, Dr. Fenner has worked as a coral ecologist, monitoring reefs in American Samoa. Doug has some tough love for us, so get ready to hear straight talk about today’s ocean issues including ocean acidification and the plight of the world’s endangered coral reefs caused by climate change and global warming. These environmental changes affect all of us, so see Doug Fenner’s “Why Coral Reefs are One of the Most Valuable Ocean Assets” at Ocean Profiles: Douglas Fenner




Raja Ampat: How Fishermen, Marine Tourism Operators, Traditional Leaders and NGO’s are Collaborating to Preserve the World’s Epicenter of Marine Biodiversity — Dr. Mark Erdmann

Mark Erdmann, coral reefs, Raja Ampat, marine bio-diversity, save the ocean, sustainable diving, ocean activistA coral reef ecologist, Dr. Mark Erdmann is also the senior advisor for Conservation International-Indonesia’s marine conservation program. Mark says that in 2002 he had an opportunity to do marine bio-diversity research in Raja Ampat and following that, Conservation International asked him to lead their marine conservation efforts in the region.

Raja Ampat is second to none in marine bio-diversity and is stunningly beautiful both below and above water, however, Mark says that he immediately saw that it was far from a pristine marine environment.  There was evidence of bomb fishing everywhere; and cyanide fishing and shark finning. Many of the local communities believed the rights that insured their traditional ownership of the reefs were being marginalized allowing fishermen from the outside to rape their reefs at an alarming rate.

But Mark could see that in spite of its problems Raja Ampat was a biological wonderland with strong local communities.As Mark says “all of the components were there for an amazing conservation test story”

Be inspired by one of the world’s diving wonderlands and Mark’s story to save it, read  “Raja Ampat: How Fishermen, Marine Tourism Operators, Traditional Leaders and NGO’s are Collaborating to Preserve the World’s Epicenter of Marine Biodiversity” at Ocean Profiles: Dr. Mark Erdmann