Meet the 2021 Ocean Talks Speakers


Romain Troublé

Executive director, Tara Ocean Foundation

Romain Troublé is the executive director of Tara Expeditions, and since 2017 he has also been president of the Ocean Climate Platform, which brings together more than 70 institutions, foundations, companies, and associations that are working on issues of climate and biodiversity. Prior to his role at the company, he spent from 2003 to 2006 working for a business specialised in polar logistics, organising sporting and scientific expeditions in the Arctic, Antarctica and Siberia, which included the discovery of mammoths frozen in permafrost. As a professional sailor, he has participated in regattas at the highest level, competing in both the America's Cup French challenges in 2000 and 2003 in Auckland, NZ.


Dee Caffari MBE

Professional Sailor, Inspirational Speaker and Ocean Advocate, Dee Caffari Limited

Dee Caffari has sailed around the world six times. She is the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world a total of three times. Dee recently led ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ – the first mixed gender youth team to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18; with a strong sustainability message. Off the water, the issue of single use plastic in our oceans gained huge momentum and has inspired many people to take action in their day to day lives. Dee will continue to highlight the vital importance of reducing our dependence on plastics. Dee is now preparing her bid to reach the 2024 Olympics as part of the new mixed two handed offshore class.


Fionn Ferreira

Student Scientist, Engineer and Sustainability advocate

Fionn Ferreira is a 19 year-old scientist and engineer, and the Grand prize global winner of the Google Science Fair 2019. He is currently studying Chemistry at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. Fionn grew up in West Cork, Ireland, surrounded by the stunning Irish landscape and scenery. When Fionn heard about microplastics, he became very passionate about finding a way to combat the issue. He searched online for previous research into methods of removal from water to find out that there were none available. Fionn decided to start researching, and developed a non-harmful way to extract these microplastics from water using vegetable oil and rust powder. To test how efficient this was, he built his own equipment, which won him the coveted Google prize.


Dr Tessa Hempson

Senior marine scientist and operations manager, Oceans Without Borders

Oceans Without Borders is a partnership between &Beyond and Africa Foundation dedicated to marine conservation and community development in East Africa. Dr Hempson is also an Adjunct Researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia, where she completed her PhD, and continues to work with the world’s leading marine scientists on the most pressing issues facing our oceans. Her work in East Africa focuses on the inseparable links between coastal communities and the marine resources on which they depend.


Dr Jean-Luc Solandt

Principal specialist, Marine Protected Areas - Marine Conservation Society

Dr Jean-Luc Solandt is a tropical marine biologist turned Ocean Recovery campaigner. He was a researcher on the Great Barrier Reef, Jamaica and Tanzania in the 1990s, diving with damselfish, corals, algae and general ecology, before moving into coral reef conservation with expedition companies and managing and training teams of citizen scientists. Since 2002, he's worked on marine law, basking sharks, Marine Protected Areas, and coral bleaching resilience in the Maldives with the MCS. In the MPA world he's best known for successfully campaigning with ClientEarth to regulate scallop dredging and trawling in inshore MPAs since 2008. He currently works on a consortium project to increase the density and health of seagrass beds and maerl beds - 2 vital habitats for locking in carbon. That includes working with the Ocean Conservation Trust to install and monitor 'Advanced Mooring Systems' with the consent of local boat users in Cawsand Bay in Plymouth Sound.


Oliver Steeds

Founder, chief executive and mission director, Nekton

Oliver Steeds is the founder, chief executive and mission director of Nekton in Oxford which is dedicated to the exploration and conservation of the deep ocean. He is a leading explorer, submersible pilot and critically acclaimed former broadcast journalist with NBC, ABC, the Discovery Channel and Channel 4. Nekton’s current mission, First Descent 2019 - 2022 is operating in the Indian Ocean, the world’s least explored - and least protected - ocean. The emphasis is on applied science to create lasting impact. In 2019 he led First Descent: Seychelles, a 45 day expedition in Seychelles waters. In 2020 First Descent: Midnight Zone, led by Oliver, is a mission investigating unexplored seamounts. Oliver is also the co-founder of the educational non-profit Encounter Edu and the Ocean’s Academy.


Richard Madden FRGS

Writer & Journalist

Richard Madden is a travel writer and journalist who has written, co-written or ghost written six books, including a top-ten best-seller for the TV adventurer Bear Grylls. Richard has travelled to all seven continents and is a specialist writer on safaris in Africa, where he recently spent two years writing and filming the Bush Telegraph column for The Daily Telegraph. Now back in the UK he is focusing on travel in Britain, with particular emphasis on walking and adventure activities. His latest book for the National Trust, The Great British Bucket List - Discovering Unmissable Britain was published last year.


Frederikke Magnussen

Co-founder, A Plastic Planet and Ocean Family Foundation

Frederikke Magnussen became aware of the growing problem of plastic pollution in our oceans in the mid 2000s. She joined forces with Sian Sutherland to create A Plastic Planet’s first campaign, which asked supermarkets to provide plastic-free aisles. This year A Plastic Planet will be launching their new campaign - Sack The Sachet.

Every year we pump out almost a trillion plastic sachets, enough to wrap our entire planet from pole to pole. They are almost invisible to us, valueless, uncollectible, unrecyclable. Billions of them are used by the consumer goods industry as the way to penetrate developing markets; and we all know where they will end up, many of them in our oceans.

The good news is that this is a fixable problem.

Frederikke and her husband have also set up Ocean Family Foundation with 3 other families who are passionate about conservation and education to protect the oceans.


Jasper Smith

Founder, Arksen

Jasper Smith has been described as a businessman with an artist’s sensitivity and empathy. After training as a sculptor he turned to technology where he built and scaled three highly successful ventures; Playjam, The Fantastic Corp, and Optimistic. Jasper now runs a successful investment company that invests around £10m a year into Europe’s brightest start-ups, Arksen being one of them.

Jasper has spent a lifetime adventuring at sea and on land. He sailed from Sydney to Alaska, via Kamchatka in Russia, climbing all of the major volcanoes along the way and spent a year climbing in South America. He has sailed boats all over the world for over 30 years.

His passion for the ocean is paramount which is evident in the ethos behind Arksen and the newly launched “10% for the Ocean” campaign which is designed to create a scale funding network for ocean related causes – to shift the needle by increasing the oceans share of funding from 1% to 10% by the end of the UN Ocean decade in 2030.


Professor Alex David Rogers

Science director, REV Ocean

Image credit: David Fisher, Oxford Martin School

Professor Alex David Rogers is the Science director of REV Ocean, a foundation aimed at finding solutions to problems affecting the ocean. He is a marine ecologist and is interested in how biodiversity is distributed in the ocean, especially in the deep sea and on tropical coral reefs. He is also interested in human impacts on the ocean and how to manage human activities to mitigate or reduce degradation of marine ecosystems. His work has taken him to the Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans and to the Caribbean investigating coral reef ecosystems, seamounts and deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Alex has worked with governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations in publicising human impacts, especially those from deep-sea fishing and climate change, and on the development of policy solutions to such problems.