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The Finalists Of The Ocean Awards 2020

The Finalists Of The Ocean Awards 2020

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The Public Awareness Award finalists

This award recognises the individual or group that has done the most this year to advance marine conservation objectives, including public literacy about marine conservation issues, be it through campaigning and advocacy, the mainstream media, art forms, or educational programmes.

Criteria: Nominees for this award must have this year initiated or significantly advanced activities with a demonstrable impact on ocean management or the public understanding or public visibility of an important ocean issue (or issues).

The finalists are:

  • Madison Stewart, Project Hiu
  • Pierre Casiraghi, Team Malizia
  • Nekton, First Descent
  • Balu Blue Foundation, Australia’s Great Southern Reef

Madison Stewart, Project Hiu

Madison Stewart is a 26-year-old underwater filmmaker, divemaster and shark conservationist who has been raising awareness since a she was a teenager. She engages with fishermen who specifically target sharks for sport, as well as the broader shark fishing industry, using photography and film to promote shark conservation. Her content is typically graphic, emotive and provoking, attracting an Instagram following of over 163,000 people. In 2017, she was recognised as the 2017 Young Conservationist of the Year by Australian Geographic and featured in Blue the film (2017).

In 2018, Madison launched Project Hiu in Lombok, Indonesia, an initiative that provides shark fishermen with an alternative income through ecotourism. The project targets one of the largest shark fisheries in Indonesia, where fishermen are hired as guides to take tourists surfing, sight-seeing and/or snorkelling. This reduces fishing pressure on sharks while also keeping local people employed. The project addresses all aspects of the fishing village community including families, the school and their waste management strategies. The project aims to raise awareness about the shark fin industry while encouraging compassion from fishermen and the public alike.


Pierre Casiraghi, Team Malizia

The Malizia is an ocean yacht ‘at the service of science and education’. It was founded in 2016 by Pierre Casiraghi, Vice-President of the Yacht Club de Monaco, and is skippered by Boris Herrmann. Herrmann has broken world records including for the Transpac, the Cape-Rio, the Columbus Route and many others. He sails solo on the Malizia and has completed a non-stop lap around the world. The team have dedicated the vessel to delivering scientific research and marine conservation education. They have met over 10,000 children and distributed over 10,000 copies of their educational kit. The vessel is equipped with an onboard sensor, measuring CO2, temperature, salinity and pressure, helping scientists to understanding the impact of climate change within our oceans, particularly in the less travelled Southern Ocean.


Nekton, First Descent

Nekton’s mission is to accelerate the exploration and protection of the ocean. ‘First Descent’ is a series of missions across the Indian Ocean (2019-2022), which is the least researched, least protected and most at-risk ocean on the planet. Beginning in Seychelles in 2019, the Mission concludes with a State of the Indian Ocean summit in October 2022. The aim is to galvanise 30 per cent protection of the Indian Ocean by 2030. ‘Expedition II: Maldives’ will happen in 2020.


Balu Blue Foundation, Australia’s Great Southern Reef

Australia’s Great Southern Reef (GSR) is an ecologically vital, yet relatively unknown, temperate reef system spanning half the country. It fringes from Kalbarri on the north-western coast, down and around the rugged southern coast and up into northern New South Wales. This interconnected network acts as a home to thousands of marine species, including the giant cuttlefish, the leafy seadragon and Australian sea lions. It features 8,000 kilometres of kelp forest reefs and is a biodiversity hot spot that is essential to Australia’s natural capital and coastal heritage. On 5 December 2019, Sahira Bell’s current research project came to fruition as the GSR was acknowledged as Mission Blue’s latest ‘Hope Spot’. People protect what they love, and love what they understand; meaning acknowledgment like this is what’s vital in uniting the community to forge ahead and do everything possible to protect places like the GSR. The GSR is currently under extreme threat from climate change and oil drilling.


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