Stories

Ocean Witness Jack

Madang, Papua New Guinea

Jack Sagumai studied marine biology and made it his life’s purpose to restore the ocean’s health. He grew up in a coastal community in Papua New Guinea and now works with WWF and community members to collect scientific data on sharks and rays. According to Jack, most people in his country no longer care about the ocean the way their ancestors did. This has to change: “It is important that people know how to fish sustainably, learn about the threats to marine biodiversity and are aware about the impact of human activities.”

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Ocean Witness Ernestine

Marohata, Madagascar

Ernestine Perline is only 29 years old but is already a leader in her community. As the president of the fishers’ association of Marohata in southwest Madagascar, the mother of four has guided her community on using sustainable fishing tools and establishing locally managed marine areas. This way, she contributes to maintaining the fish populations and safeguarding the livelihoods of her community. WWF-Madagascar works with Ernestine as part of the sustainable coastal fishing project that supports local communities living near the country’s national parks.

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Ocean Witness Salim

Keti Bunder, Pakistan

Salim Dablo is from the Indus Delta in Pakistan, one of the richest ecosystems in the world. Witnessing his community using unsustainable fishing gear as a response to decreasing catches, Salim knew it was not a long-term solution. He took initiative to realise a positive change and started to work with WWF-Pakistan to protect coastal ecosystems and simultaneously support the community’s livelihood. Now, this Ocean Witness wants to share their local solutions with other communities around the world.

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Ocean Witness Julián

Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador

Julián Marcial was born and raised on ‘Isla Escalante’, a small island in the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador. As a fisherman using stake nets, he applies a technique that has been used to catch shrimp for generations. Passionate about sustainable fishing, Julián participated in a pilot project of WWF Ecuador in 2016 that assessed a rights-based management system for the artisanal shrimp fishery that benefits both the fishery and the coastal ecosystem. With success: in July 2020 the Ecuadorian government announced a decree that allows WWF to work side by side with the local fishermen and authorities to formalize the artisanal shrimp fishery in the Gulf of Guayaquil. Here, a dedicated Ocean Witness shares his story.

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Ocean Witness Samson

Beheloke, Madagascar

Samson (33) is a member of the fishing community of Beheloke, Madagascar. He strongly believes in the importance of coastal communities taking responsibility for the marine resources in their area, and leads by example. As a member of the committee of the locally managed marine area (LMMA) of Beheloke, Samson promotes sustainable fishing practices in his village and encourages other fishing communities to take initiative, follow regulations and not give up in challenging times.

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Ocean Witness Dhaval

Gujarat, India

Dhaval spent most of his childhood on the beaches of Gujarat, a state on the west coast of India. Being part of a fishing community, he has witnessed a decline of fish catches that has left his community struggling. Dhaval realised the only way to a healthy future for Gujarat’s fisheries was the sustainable way, and he decided to devote his time to this cause. Now, Dhaval works with WWF to reduce shark bycatch in India’s trawl fisheries in a programme that he sees having the potential to be implemented in other parts of the world.

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Ocean Witness Lara

Maputo, Mozambique

Lara Muaves became passionate about the ocean when she was only 10 years old. As a senior marine officer at WWF-Mozambique, she works closely with coastal communities every day: “Community-led conservation is the best approach to achieve sustainable, impactful and direct results that benefit both nature and people.” Lara has experienced it first-hand while piloting octopus fisheries closures in Cabo Delgado with communities, a model that shows real potential to be applied at national and even regional scale.

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Ocean Witness Miguel

Algarve, Portugal

‘I've always felt a great passion and attraction to the sea.’ As dive instructor and president of the Armação de Pêra's fishermen association, Miguel Rodrigues sees the importance of protecting and preserving our oceans. He works to instigate positive changes in his local coastline and community, and today Miguel shares his amazing story.

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Ocean Witness Ariana

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Ariana Freire grew up on the Galapagos Islands. Now, 23 years old, she shares this biodiverse place with tourists in her work as a naturalist guide. When heading out with tourists, she frequently encounters garbage on the beaches and she notices that the number of fishermen decreases as tourism increases in the archipelago. These changes do not discourage but inspire Ariana; her passion for nature makes that she initiates beach clean-ups with tourists and studies environmental administration to contribute to healthier oceans.

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Ocean Witness Hartono

Wakatobi, Indonesia

As a part of the seafaring Bajo tribe, Hartono spends most of  his time on the water. As a fisherman, he’s witnessing how damaging illegal fishing practices have become to the marine environment. Committed to advocate for the ocean’s well-being, Hartono is a member of the Ranger Partner community and the leader of sustainable fishing group Sanggeh Kami.

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Ocean Witness Kalani

Hawaii, United States

‘I would say that the ocean is reciprocating: it is giving back exactly what we have been doing to it.’ Kalani Quiocho saw the duality of life and death in the ocean and immediately felt a great responsibility and moral obligation to do something; to protect his safe place. Today he shares his inspirational story.

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Ocean Witness Hermany

Anakao, Madagascar

Ocean Witness Hermany was born and raised in a small coastal village in southwest Madagascar and the ocean has always been a large part of his life. He’s now the president of MIHARI (Madagascar’s network of Locally Managed Marine Areas) and not without success: already 17% of Madagascar’s seas are now under local management. Today we share his story.

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Ocean Witness Roziah

Omadal, Malaysia

She grew up in what most people would call paradise: Omadal, Malaysia. However, she’s been a first-hand witness to the ocean changing over the last decades. Roziah decided to take matters into her own hands and took on the responsibility of leading the Women's Association of Omadal Island. Roziah is our next Ocean Witness.

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Ocean Witness Emanuel

Peniche, Portugal

Our first Ocean Witness story finds its roots near the shore of Peniche (Portugal) where we follow Emanuel, one of the fishermen that changed his ways to contribute to a healthier ocean in the future. Peniche is an important harbor for fishery with a strong focus on the ocean for income surrounding the Berlengas islands – a MPA and UNESCO site. An important population of Goose Barnacles thrive in this coastal area. Read Emanuel’s inspiring story.

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Ocean Witness Rindah

Solomon Islands

“We have to protect the oceans and all the marine resources in the South Pacific, so that the future generations are still able to see all that lives in the ocean.” Rindah Melsen emphasizes the importance of protecting the ocean.

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Ocean Witness Daniel

Maragogipe, Brazil

"They feel more confident and proud of what they do." Ocean Witness Daniel Andrade about his successful project in the mangroves of Brazil.

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Jack

Madang, Madagascar

Jack Sagumai studied marine biology and made it his life’s purpose to restore the ocean’s health. He grew up in a coastal community in Papua New Guinea and now works with WWF and community members to collect scientific data on sharks and rays.

Read the story

Ernestine

Marohata, Madagascar

Ernestine Perline is only 29 years old but is already a leader in her community. As the president of the fishers’ association of Marohata in southwest Madagascar, the mother of four has guided her community on using sustainable fishing tools and establishing locally managed marine areas. This way, she contributes to maintaining the fish populations and safeguarding the livelihoods of her community.

Read the story

Salim

Keti Bunder, Pakistan

Salim Dablo is from the Indus Delta in Pakistan, one of the richest ecosystems in the world. Witnessing his community using unsustainable fishing gear as a response to decreasing catches, Salim knew it was not a long-term solution. He took initiative to realise a positive change and started to work with WWF-Pakistan to protect coastal ecosystems and simultaneously support the community’s livelihood.

Read the story

Julián

Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador

Julián Marcial was born and raised on ‘Isla Escalante’, a small island in the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador. As a fisherman using stake nets, he applies a technique that has been used to catch shrimp for generations. Passionate about sustainable fishing, Julián participated in a pilot project of WWF Ecuador in 2016.

Read the story

Samson

Beheloke, Madagascar

Samson (33) is a member of the fishing community of Beheloke, Madagascar. He strongly believes in the importance of coastal communities taking responsibility for the marine resources in their area, and leads by example. As a member of the committee of the locally managed marine area (LMMA) of Beheloke, Samson promotes sustainable fishing practices in his village and encourages other fishing communities to take initiative, follow regulations and not give up in challenging times.

Read the story

Dhaval Jungi

Gujarat, India

Dhaval spent most of his childhood on the beaches of Gujarat, a state on the west coast of India. Being part of a fishing community, he has witnessed a decline of fish catches that has left his community struggling. Dhaval realised the only way to a healthy future for Gujarat’s fisheries was the sustainable way, and he decided to devote his time to this cause. Now, Dhaval works with WWF to reduce shark bycatch in India’s trawl fisheries in a programme that he sees having the potential to be implemented in other parts of the world.

Read the story

Lara Muaves

Maputo, Mozambique

Lara Muaves became passionate about the ocean when she was only 10 years old. As a senior marine officer at WWF-Mozambique, she works closely with coastal communities every day: “Community-led conservation is the best approach to achieve sustainable, impactful and direct results that benefit both nature and people.” Lara has experienced it first-hand while piloting octopus fisheries closures in Cabo Delgado with communities, a model that shows real potential to be applied at national and even regional scale.

Read the story

Miguel

Algarve, Portugal

Miguel is a dive instructor and president of the Armação de Pêra's fishermen association, he sees the importance of protecting and preserving our oceans and works to instigate positive changes in his local coastline and community.

Read the story

Ariana

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Ariana Freire (23) grew up on the Galapagos Islands and shares this biodiverse place with tourists in her work as a naturalist guide. Her passion for nature makes that she initiates beach clean-ups with tourists and studies environmental administration to contribute to healthier oceans.

Read the story

Hartono

Wakatobi, Indonesia

Hartono is a traditional fisherman who lives on the ocean. Wanting to alter the negative changes he notices in the ocean, he is part of the Ranger Partner community and leader of sustainable fishinggroup Sanggeh Kami.

Read the story

Kalani Quiocho

Hawaii, United States

Kalani Quiocho is a native son of Hawaiʻi. He is a descendent of these islands and feels a deep-rooted sense of responsibility to elevate the knowledge systems and environmental ethics of indigenous people for the benefit of humanity and the world.

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Hermany

Anakao, Madagascar

Hermany Manahadraza was born and raised in the coastal village of Anakao in southwest Madagascar and the ocean has always been a large part of his life. Hermany is now also the president of Madagascar’s network of Locally Managed Marine Areas.

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Roziah

Omadal, Malaysia

Roziah Jalalid lives on Omadal Island, Borneo, Malaysia. She’s mother of two and also Chairperson of The Women’s Association of Omadal Island (WAPO).

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Emanuel

Peniche, Portugal

Emanuel is the president of the Berlengas’s Barnacle Fishermen Association. Together with WWF he works closely to create a better future for the oceans.

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Rindah Melsen

Solomon Islands

Rindah Melsen lives on the Solomon Islands and she’s the president of the Nusatuva Women’s Saving Club.

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David Andrade

Maragogipe, Brazil

Daniel Andrade, a born and raised maragogipano, grew up witnessing the changes in local fishing and the transformation of the mangroves. He became a Rare Fellow in December 2014.

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