On Tuesday 30th March, the Bertarelli Foundation hosted our first marine science seminar of 2021. Moderated by Prof Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia, this seminar featured speakers working across the Indian Ocean region to tackle plastic pollution.
With significant accumulation of plastic being recorded on coastlines across the Indian Ocean region, this seminar explored the impact plastic pollution has on endangered wildlife, how the problem is monitored and how new technology is helping us to better understand the plastic crisis.
A recording of the seminar is now available to watch here:
Moderator: Prof Jenna Jambeck – University of Georgia
Victoria Alis – The Ocean Project Seychelles
Victoria Alis, a French-Seychelloise passionate about preserving the natural environment, returned to Seychelles in 2017 with a BHs in Biological (Marine) Science from the University of Brittany Occidental (France) and began to work as a field research assistant for the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) on the Aldabra Atoll. Later in 2019, she then joined the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) and joined The Ocean Project Seychelles (TOP), two local NGOs, to help integrate sustainability practices within the tourism sector and help tackle the rise and urgency of plastic pollution. She has since helped TOP develop the WIOMSA-funded Seychelles Marine Litter Monitoring programme, which also forms part of a regional study.
Rachel Jones – Zoological Society of London
Rachel Jones has worked for the Zoological Society of London since 1998. Her career has bridged the animal care and conservation departments with a particular focus on tropical marine habitats and species. She spent 16 years working in and managing the aquarium at London Zoo with a personal focus on the large collection of reef fish and invertebrates it housed, before moving departments to work on the Bertarelli Foundations Marine Science programme at its inception in 2017. Now the programme manager, Rachel is responsible for aspects of team coordination, logistics, communications and expedition planning and support for a team of more than 100 scientists working in and around the Chagos Archipelago. Rachel is also project lead for a Darwin Plus funded team exploring the specific impacts of plastics on sea turtles in the Chagos archipelago and the search for solutions to the challenge of ocean plastics in remote island locations.
Thoriq Hamid – Common Seas Maldives
Thoriq has a comprehensive understanding of Maldivian media, politics and civil society. Having worked in a leadership position at an international NGO for eight years, he has extensive experience in communications and project management. Thoriq has provided political analysis for donors, diplomats and international organisations, as well as engaging with political leaders, civil society, and journalists within the Maldives and abroad. In addition to working with Common Seas, he also runs his own communications company. Growing up and living in the Maldives, Thoriq has a close connection to the ocean. He enjoys scuba diving and is a certified PADI Dive Master.
Hawwa Nashfa – Common Seas Maldives
Nashfa has a great interested in circular economy, nature-based solutions and sustainable development models for island nations. Alongside these interests, Nashfa holds a master’s degree in Environmental Management Policy from Lund University, Sweden, and BA’s in International Political Economy and English literature from the College of Idaho, USA. Nashfa wrote her master’s thesis on the feasibility of implementing Extended Producer Responsibility for P.E.T bottles in the Maldives and worked with the Ministry of Environment to develop a single use plastic phaseout plan. She also has experience working with different stakeholders from the tourism and fisheries sectors of the Maldives.
Alasdair Davies – Arribada Initiative
Alasdair Davies is Technical Director of the Arribada Initiative and a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. He has 14 years’ experience developing, designing and deploying conservation technologies for conservation organisations globally, including the Zoological Society of London, the National Geographic Society and the World Wide Fund for Nature. His primary focus is the development of open source conservation technologies, with his most notable achievement the release of the first open source Argos satellite transmitter reference design. Alasdair founded the Arribada Initiative in 2017 to unlock access to open source conservation technologies, specializing in low-cost telemetry, biologging and passive acoustic monitoring technologies. Arribada’s current clients include the European Space Agency, the UK Space Agency, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.