Blue Eco Summit by Ocean Geographic

Blue Eco Summit will focus on the entire BLUE SPACE of our ocean as a force of nature and our gift of life.


Between Surface and Depth

The conference brings together subject matter experts to discuss on three core issues: High Seas Treaty, Blue Carbon and Deep Sea Mining.

In partnership with Ocean Geographic, Blue Eco Summit, anchored by keynote speaker Dr. Sylvia Earle, affectionately referred to in the industry as “Her Deepness”.

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Oceanographer & Explorer

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Oceanographer & Explorer

The conference agenda covers the key topics below

Speakers at Blue Eco Summit

Dr. Sylvia Earle PhD

Founder of Mission Blue, Deep Hope Inc

Michael Aw

Founder of Ocean Geographic, Asian Geographic, Deep Hope

Richard Bailey

Founder of Tetiaroa Society, Blue Climate Initiative

Jessica Novia

Founder of CarbonEthics

Nithiya Laila

TV Presenter, Founder of Brunch Bandits

Professor Peter Harrison

Distinguished Professor, Founding Director of Marine Ecology Research Centre

Dr Toh Tai Chong

Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore

Sheree Marris

Marine Biologist, Science Communicator, Author & Public Speaker

Quentin Fouesnant

Founder of Qanopy Consulting, Sustainability & ESG Advisor

Conference Speakers

Dr. Sylvia Earle PhD

Founder of Mission Blue, Deep Hope Inc

Michael Aw

Founder of Ocean Geographic, Asian Geographic, Deep Hope

Richard Bailey

Founder of Tetiaroa Society, Blue Climate Initiative

Jessica Novia


Founder of CarbonEthics

Nithiya Laila

TV Presenter, Founder of Brunch Bandits

Professor Peter Harrison

Distinguished Professor, Founding Director of Marine Ecology Research Centre

Dr. Toh Tai Chong

Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore

Sheree Marris

Marine Biologist, Science Communicator, Author & Public Speaker

Quentin Fouesnant

Founder of Qanopy Consulting, Sustainability & ESG Advisor

BLUE CARBON Pictures and Video Competition


Your chance to win an expedition to the High Arctic on MV Sylvia Earle

This is your opportunity to harness your creativity for climate action. The ocean holds 60 times more carbon than the atmosphere and absorbs nearly 31% of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from human activities, which would otherwise trap heat and raise global temperatures. This makes the ocean essential for understanding the global carbon cycle and our future climate.

BLUE CARBON Pictures (portfolio of 3 pictures)

BLUE CARBON Vision (30 to 60 sec video)

These prestigious awards will be presented by Dr Sylvia Earle at Blue Eco Summit. Join us in highlighting the critical role of the ocean in climate regulation.

The Award of Excellence winner of these two categories will be included in the selection of the 2024 OGPICOTY MASTER OF COMPETITION Award to win an expedition to the Arctic on MV Sylvia Earle by Aurora Expeditions.


Submit a portfolio of 3 pictures

The portfolio of images must illustrate blue carbon/carbon captured by ocean ecosystems which includes – Carbon absorbed by aquatic plants, algae, and phytoplankton, Carbon stored in the bodies of living ocean animals, carbon sequestered in deep-sea sediments.

Submit a 30 to 60-second video

The 60” video should be narrated with text to promote/illustrate the importance of blue carbon/carbon captured by ocean ecosystems, including Carbon absorbed by aquatic plants, algae, and phytoplankton, Carbon stored in the bodies of living ocean animals, and carbon sequestered in deep-sea sediments.

Don’t miss this chance to contribute to a sustainable future and win an unforgettable adventure!

Submit your work and contribute to raising awareness and inspiring action for a sustainable future at

9:15 am - 10:15 am

Attendee Registration & Morning Tea Networking Session

10:15 am -

Ballroom Doors Open

10:25 am -

Conference Commences

10:30 am - 10:40 am

Welcome Address

Arthur Tay
10:40 am - 10:50 am

Opening of The Ocean Collective Summit 2023

Jay Wade
10:50 am - 11:10 am

Keynote Lecture 1 - Combining Technology and Sustainability to Protect Our Ocean

Sustainability and technology are intertwined, and not only do they often seek to reduce the environmental impact for the Ocean planet, but they also offer strategic outcomes that can drive conservation. In his keynote address, Fabien Cousteau - renowned Aquanaut, and Founder of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center and PROTEUS™ - will explore the intricate link between sustainability and technology. He will delve into the various solutions that are laying the groundwork to minimize risk and maximize opportunities for the ocean.

With a focus on long-term sustainability goals, Fabien will highlight key examples of technologies that are revolutionizing ocean conservation. From artificial intelligence and machine learning to digital twins and the Internet of Things, these innovative solutions are leading the way towards greater mitigation and reduction of pressures on the ocean. Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear from one of the top voices in ocean conservation!

Fabien Cousteau
11:10 am - 11:30 am

Keynote Lecture 2 – Unlocking Our Ocean’s Potential - Innovative Solutions To Conservation

Technology-based solutions offer unprecedented opportunities to greatly improve our understanding of the ocean and drive impactful conservation efforts. During this session, Jeremy will discuss key technological innovations in ocean conservation, with a focus on's groundbreaking BlueSense™ platform. This keynote address will explore the unique approaches that contribute to essential data, guiding investments in carbon credits and environmental assets. But technology is just one piece of the puzzle.

Collaboration with local communities and governments is essential to creating long-term, decentralized engagements that drive revenue and job creation, while providing transformative impact on ocean conservation efforts. Join this session for insights into the critical importance of cross-sector partnerships and the unexplored potential of the ocean, and the potential of a balanced approach to economic growth and environmental stewardship.

Jeremy McKane
11:30 am - 11:40 am


11:40 am - 12:00 am

Fireside Chat – A conversation with Fabien and Jeremy

Jeremy McKane
Fabien Cousteau
12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

Keynote Lecture 3 – Seabed 2030 Project - Emerging Seabed Mapping

Ocean knowledge is crucial to understanding Planet Earth, yet we still have much to learn about our seafloor, with 75% of it yet to be mapped. The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project (Seabed 2030) is a collaboration between The Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) that aims to produce the definitive GEBCO bathymetric map of the entire ocean by 2030. This will enable the world to make informed policy decisions, use the ocean sustainably, and undertake scientific research that is based on detailed knowledge of seafloor topography.

As a pioneering initiative to map our final frontiers, Seabed 2030 relies on the goodwill and efforts of a global community of governments, industry, research, and philanthropic sectors, in combination with volunteer citizen scientists and contributors. The map of the seafloor is updated annually and is free to download and use – it is a public service for humanity by humanity. Join us and gain a deeper understanding of the key elements of this international project, as well as an overview of the challenges involved in such a global commitment, and how we can shape the way forward.

Jamie McMichael-Phillips
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm


  • Meet The Blue Water Heroes
  • Foyer Activity: Fantasium VR Corner

1:45 pm - 2:00 pm

Audience engagement activity

Kahoot Quiz related to Climate Change

Paul Foster
2:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Fireside Chat – Implications Of The High Sea Treaty

The Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty Agreement (BBNJ), commonly referred to as The High Seas Treaty, marked a significant achievement in the realm of biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilisation beyond national borders when it was made available for signature during the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Week in September 2023. It addresses regulatory gaps in the protection of the marine environment and resources in the high seas and deep seabed, which has hitherto been fragmented across various sectoral and regional bodies.

As of 2 November 2023, 82 countries have signed the BBNJ Agreement which shows a high level of international commitment to the BBNJ process. This is particularly important for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Singapore that depend on the oceans and their biodiversity for our livelihoods. It also marks a significant step forward for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – in particular, to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, sea and marine resources for sustainable development.

Stephen Beng
Rena Lee
2:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Keynote Lecture 4 – What Happens When The Sea Rises? Effective Coastal City And Settlement Adaption To Manage Climate Change Risks

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has assessed that current climate impacts are likely to worsen across multiple human-natural systems. Coastal communities in the Southeast Asian region face disproportionately high risks without urgent and coordinated action. This talk examines the levels of risk that regional coastal communities encounter as sea levels rise. It also delves into short-term climate action, such as the Paris Agreement and the Singapore Green Plan, as they gain momentum by 2030. One essential component of enhancing climate resilience in these communities involves planned and executed adaptation strategies that blend technology with nature-based and social policies, ensuring inclusivity of stakeholders, particularly local communities. Discover how gaps in successful adaptation to climate risks can be rapidly closed through meticulous planning and adequate financing of such initiatives.

Winston Chow
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Keynote Lecture 5 – Development Of Innovative Coastal Protection And Flood Management Solutions

Climate change is resulting in more extreme weather patterns, posing an existential threat to coastal cities like Singapore, which are particularly vulnerable due to their low-lying nature. Since being appointed the national coastal protection agency in 2020, PUB has gone beyond its role in draining planning and stormwater management and embarked on master-planning and site-specific studies, strengthened competencies in coastal hydrodynamic modelling, and launched research initiatives to develop effective strategies to safeguard Singapore’s resilience against the impacts of climate change.

Singapore faces additional challenges due to its limited land, high urbanisation, and dense population, while the rate and extent of sea level rise remain uncertain. However, we believe these uncertainties present opportunities to recreate our coastal areas, and with this aim in mind, the Coastal Protection and Flood Resilience Institute (CFI) Singapore was launched to spearhead research and development. In this session, you will learn about the development of innovative, flexible, and multi-functional solutions for coastal protection and flood management.

Zoe Ong
3:30 pm - 3:40 pm

Short Break

3:40 pm - 3:50 pm

Keynote Lecture 6 – Innovators Series – Innovative Youngsters (Video Presentation)

This presentation offers a comprehensive perspective on the engagement of youth in the battle against single-use plastics, drawing from a wealth of expertise and insights gleaned from the BBPB journey. It places a special emphasis on weaving the theme and message of “Innovative Youth” into the fabric of this important initiative. It delves into real-life experiences and the hurdles faced during the journey, drawing from the combined experiences of BBPB and YT. This presentation will also shine a light on the obstacles and challenges that often arise when working with young individuals, providing valuable insights into how to overcome these hurdles. Additionally, it addresses the crucial matter of volunteer management, offering a problem statement that delves into the intricacies of coordinating and guiding a diverse group of passionate volunteers towards a common goal.

Melati Riyanto Wijsen
3:50 pm - 4:10 pm

Keynote Lecture 7 – Innovators Series – Innovative Journeys

What does it mean to live out a childhood dream? What does it take to turn that dream into a reality and keep it alive? The MareCet Research Organization, a grassroots NGO founded in Malaysia in 2012, has its roots in the childhood aspirations of its co-founders, Dr. Louisa Ponnampalam and Fairul Izmal Jamal Hisne. Despite facing doubts and discouragement from various quarters about MareCet’s ability to fulfill its mission, this is the tale of how two young co-founders, initially trained as scientists, ventured into the unknown armed with just a few dollars in their pockets. Their motivation? A lifelong passion for marine mammals and a burning desire to advance the science and conservation of these captivating creatures within their home country.

A decade later, MareCet stands as a thriving and fully-fledged conservation NGO, leading the charge in marine mammal science and conservation in Malaysia. It boasts an extensive network of supporters and collaborators, both nationally and internationally. In this presentation, Dr. Ponnampalam will delve into the trials and challenges that accompanied MareCet’s growth into the marine conservation powerhouse it has become today.

Dr Louisa Ponnampalam
4:10 pm - 4:20 pm

Keynote Lecture 8 – Innovators Series – Innovative Collaborations

The unexplored Myeik Archipelago, located on Myanmar’s southern coast, sprawls across 800 islands, housing a wide range of marine ecosystems and hosting many charismatic and endangered marine species. These include oceanic manta rays, dugongs, various shark species, and marine turtles.

However, with a lack of active marine protected area management and limited surveillance beneath the waves, the Myanmar Ocean Project’s expeditions have been launched to systematically collect data regarding the prevalence of Abandoned, Lost, or Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG). Our survey expeditions have united fishermen, island communities, and volunteer divers to find region-appropriate solutions, pinpoint ALDFG hotspots, identify the primary causes of gear loss, and train scuba divers in safe techniques for surveying and retrieving ghost gear.

Throughout our expeditions in the Myeik Archipelago, our team has deeply engaged with fishermen and island community members to comprehend their challenges with ALDFG and potential trouble spots. Additionally, we’ve gathered data by examining reports of ALDFG sightings from scuba dive liveaboard operators.

Our findings have been both eye-opening and concerning. Ghost gear is widespread in the Myeik Archipelago, demanding urgent action to reduce the flow of ALDFG into our oceans. There is compelling evidence of ALDFG causing damage to coral reefs and entirely smothering seafloors.

We persist in collaborating with fishermen, recognizing their pivotal role in helping us determine the best ways to assist them in collecting end-of-life fishing gear, and in reducing and preventing ALDFG from polluting our oceans.

Thanda Ko Gyi
4:20 pm - 4:35 pm

Brainstorm Session - Challenge and Preparation

Paul Foster
Fabien Cousteau
4:35 pm - 5:00 pm

Tea break and Networking Session @ Ballroom Foyer

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Blue Water EduFest Welcome Cocktail

Foyer Activity: Fantasium VR Corner

8:30 am - 9:00 am

Morning Coffee and Tea

9:00 am - 9:15 am

Day 2 Commences. Emcee Welcome and recap

Paul Foster
9:15 am - 9:45 am

Keynote Lecture 9 – Unlocking A Sustainable Future With Ocean Innovation And Finance

Ocean health is declining. It is not a silo-ed issue but one intrinsically connected to climate change and the loss of biodiversity, impacting both land-based and marine industries. Now more than ever, we must protect and restore our oceans and learn to use them in more sustainable ways. However, ocean health remains overlooked and underfunded in business and finance; UN SDG 14: Life below water, the global goal for ocean conservation, receives the least funding. We need to mobilise more finance, especially private capital, to support the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans and their resources.

A sustainable ocean economy can bring economic, environmental, and social benefits, providing opportunities for corporations and investors. Restoring ocean health and transforming unsustainable practices are driving innovation across industries, from ocean-based climate solutions and sustainable seafood to ocean intelligence and innovative financial tools. Join us to explore the business and investment case for ocean action, with a focus on innovative ocean solutions that can help to unlock a sustainable and prosperous future.

Ying Qin
9:45 am - 10:30 am

Panel Discussion – Blue Carbon: Challenges and Opportunities

Blue Carbon is gaining traction in carbon credit development, shifting from the traditional focus on generating "green" credits from land-based ecosystems like forests. The "Challenges of Implementing Blue Carbon Market" panel explores barriers in expanding blue carbon projects amid rising global interest and costly accreditation processes and soil carbon oversight that hinder progress.

DHI's advanced ecosystem carbon model offers potential solutions. Their advanced carbon sequestration model, powered by MIKE Powered by DHI software, offers precise site-specific insights into carbon storage capabilities. These innovative models have the potential to transform the accreditation of blue carbon, potentially altering our approach to climate change mitigation.

A central theme of the discussion will be the often-overlooked role of coral reefs in carbon balance. Coral reefs' role in carbon balances and their interconnectedness with ecosystems like seagrass meadows will be discussed, emphasizing conservation's importance.

The challenges are substantial, with declining coral reefs and urgent greenhouse gas reduction needs. Active interventions and ecosystem preservation are essential, recognizing marine ecosystems as more than carbon storage but also contributors to biodiversity, coastal protection, and socio-economic activities. The panel seeks to illuminate these challenges and guide climate change mitigation efforts.

Moderator: Ms Kong Man Jing
Dr Siti Maryam Yaakub
Dr. Jani Tanzil
George Foulsham
10:30 pm - 10:45 pm

Short Break

10:45 am - 11:15 am

Keynote Lecture 10 – Tackling Plastic Pollution – Implications Of The Plastic Treaty

In March 2022, UN Member States endorsed a historic resolution to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024. We must recognize the significance of this resolution and examine the Global Plastic Treaty to understand how it can help us achieve ambitious targets for combatting plastic pollution and marine litter. During this session, we will explore innovative approaches like plastic credits as a market-based mechanism to reduce plastic waste through incentivizing and rewarding sustainable practices.

These approaches are critical in promoting responsible plastic consumption, fostering circular economies, and encouraging investment in sustainable solutions. Learn about how the combined efforts of the Global Plastic Treaty and plastic credits can foster a culture of sustainability, driving positive change and curbing plastics pollution in the ocean.

Wendy Wong
11:15 am - 11:35 am

Keynote Lecture 11 – Tackling Plastic Pollution: Microplastic Mitigation: The Searial Cleaners’ Eco-Friendly Solutions In Asia

Plastic pollution has emerged as a pressing global concern, with Asia at the epicenter of this environmental crisis. Amidst this challenge, a new wave of CleanTech companies is rising, offering innovative and eco-friendly solutions to combat the plastic menace. One such trailblazer is The SearialCleaners: it specifically addresses the insidious small and micro debris littering beaches and shorelines. Unlike traditional cleanup methods which are often reliant on diesel engine-driven tractors and boats, the SearialCleaners’ products and services are eco-sensitive – 100% electric and tailored to collecting microplastics while safeguarding local fauna and flora.

Beyond mere cleanup, these solutions facilitate data collection and analysis, fostering education and prevention efforts. Collaborating closely with governments, NGOs, and corporations, they are on a mission to implement innovative and sustainable solutions that combat plastic pollution effectively. Be inspired by their dedication to preserving the environment and enlisting broad support – marking a promising step toward a cleaner, plastic-free future in Asia and beyond.

Antoine Repiton-Préneuf
11:35 pm - 11:55 pm

Keynote Lecture 12 – Tackling Plastic Pollution – Recycling And Circular Economy Solutions

Plastic pollution is now so rampant that it has been labelled as a crisis. Many are uneducated and misinformed in terms of what plastic is, where it comes from, how it is made, and whether it truly can be reused or recycled. In many developed countries, consumerist wasteful behaviour also causes the plastic problem to persist, despite ample resources to reduce wastage.

While there are breakthroughs in the development of compostable and biodegradable materials in the market materials, these alternatives are either too costly to mass produce or cannot achieve the same properties as some plastics. Not all plastics are created equal and in this session, participants will learn about the actual problems behind recycling plastics, circular economies, and why recycling alone cannot be the only solution – switching off the tap is presently the best way to stop the plastic crisis.

Benjamin Chay
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm


Meet The Blue Water Heroes

1:15 pm - 1:35 pm

Keynote Lecture 13 – Harmonising Nature And Purpose – Purpose Driven Yachting And Ocean Conservation

We explore the concept of ‘Responsible Yachting’ and its crucial role in promoting ocean conservation while highlighting substantial contributions to scientific research, all in the pursuit of raising awareness about marine conservation.

A central theme revolves around ICON Yachts’ expedition vessels, emphasising their capability to actively support scientific research and bridge the gap between luxury yachting and marine conservation. Moreover, we will examine a case study exemplifying how ICON Yachts’ expedition vessels have played a pivotal role in advancing scientific research and ocean conservation initiatives.

The presentation also looks at industry trends, showing how the yachting sector is moving towards explorer yachts and the increasing significance of experiential yachting. We will delve into ICON Yachts’ network and partnerships to provide a detailed look at how collaboration impacts the yachting industry. ICON Yachts will demonstrate how they have used their partnerships to create explorer yachts that have made a real difference, with real-world examples and success stories.

Micca Ferrero
1:35 pm - 1:55 pm

Keynote Lecture 14 – Harmonising Nature And Purpose – Institutional Conservation For The Sundarbans

The Sundarbans in Bangladesh stands as the world’s largest mangrove system and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, serving not only as a critical regulator of weather patterns and a shield against cyclones but also as a lifeline for countless people.

The Bengal tiger, an emblematic symbol of Bangladesh, occupies a pivotal role in the Sundarbans ecosystem. Safeguarding this majestic creature and its habitat is of utmost importance, given the looming threats of poaching, overexploitation, and human-wildlife conflict.

As a response to these pressing challenges, WildTeam has launched an array of community engagement programs, including the Village Tiger Response Team (VTRT), Forest Tiger Response Team (FTRT), BaghBandhus (friends of tigers), and TigerScouts. These initiatives are designed to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts, nurture wildlife-friendly attitudes, and empower local communities to actively participate in the conservation efforts for the Sundarbans. Preserving this invaluable natural asset its own right and as guardian of the Sundarbans not only upholds a cultural symbol but also ensures human safety and sustains livelihoods throughout Bangladesh.

Wild team in collaboration with the Bangladesh Forest Department and with support from KfW-German Cooperation, is taking a pivotal step by establishing the Sundarbans Museum and Interpretation Centre. This institution will be the first of its kind, dedicated to increasing knowledge and promoting pro-environmental attitudes regarding the Sundarbans among local communities, Bangladeshis at large, and the global community.

Enayetullah Khan
1:55 pm - 2:15 pm

Keynote Lecture 15 – Harmonising Nature And Purpose – Imagining Our Future Ocean

We cannot make a better world if we cannot imagine it. Kids have the most imagination, yet we don’t include them in making decisions, and we don’t take them seriously. Same goes for most indigenous population, even if we know they are the largest contributors to environmental conservation. What if we could work with the youth and indigenous people to imagine and build a sustainable and prosperous relationship with the ocean?

In this talk, Prof Cesar Jung-Harada from the Singapore Institute of Technology will talk about his Open Art & Science work with young students, indigenous people, sensing ocean plastic, mapping coral reefs with robotics and AI, and his recent work in floating solar hydrogen production in Indonesia. If we want a healthy ocean, we need to include everyone, especially those who will have to bear the consequences the longest time – the youth – and those who will be hit the hardest – the indigenous.

Cesar Jung-Harada
2:15 pm - 3:45 pm

Brainstorm Session – Creating Measurable Impact For Your Sustainability Efforts

  • Republic Polytechnic Project Presentation
  • Group Brainstorm And Presentation

Jeremy McKane
Fabien Cousteau
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Tea Break available throughout brainstorming session

3:45 pm - 4:00 pm

Closing Remarks

Julian Chang
Fabien Cousteau
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Blue Water Heroes Awards Dinner

The organizer reserves the rights to change or remove topics and speakers at any time without prior notice.

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Dr. Sylvia Earle PhD

Founder Mission Blue, Deep Hope Inc

Dr Sylvia Earle is an Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, Founder of Mission Blue, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), Chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute and former Chief Scientist of NOAA. Author of more than 200 publications, and leader of more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater, Dr Earle is a graduate of Florida State University with M.A. and PhD degrees from Duke University and 27 honorary doctorates. Her research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and develops the technology of access to the deep sea.

Sylvia is the subject of the Emmy Award-winning Netflix documentary, Mission Blue, and the recipient of more than 100 national and international honours and awards including being named Time Magazine’s first Hero of the Planet, a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, in 2014, UNEP Champion of the Earth, Glamour Magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year, member of the Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, and winner of 2009 TED Prize, the Walter Cronkite Award, the 1996 Explorer Club Medal, the Royal Geographic Society 2011 Patron’s Medal and the National Geographic 2013 Hubbard Medal. 

Sylvia Earle is synonymous with “Her Deepness”, “the Living Legend” and “the First Hero for the Planet”. But as humble as she is heroic, she is not one to be preoccupied with material wealth or apparent fame. Coined as the true ambassador of our world’s oceans, Sylvia is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with an insatiable passion for underwater exploration and marine conservation. Sylvia still currently holds the record for a solo dive to an astonishing depth of 1,005 metres into the deep sea.



Conference Topics:

Deep Sea Mining: The Magic of the Twilight Zone – Open and Deepwater Exploration

Michael Aw

Michael AW is the founder of Asian Geographic (1998), Ocean Geographic (2007), as well as OceanNEnvironment Ltd (1998), a non-profit organization registered with Environment Australia. He is currently the CEO and Publisher of Ocean Geographic. He also serves as the Executive Director of Deep Hope Inc., a 501C organisation founded with Dr Sylvia Earle to build submersibles to explore deep-sea habitats.

Michael AW was awarded the NOGI AWARD for Arts and inducted into the fellowship of the American Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow of the Explorer Club and has led four flag expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic.

Before becoming an ocean advocate, explorer and one of our world’s most published underwater photographers, Michael worked in mainstream advertising agencies for 15 years.

In February of 2023, Michael successfully organised a multi-national team of experts of diverse disciplines, and gender, aged 12 to 88 from 20 nations for a benchmark climate expedition to document the state of the Antarctic (ACE2023) and created eight resolutions for a transformative change for a net-zero planet by 2035. The pictures, music documentaries and resolutions from the expedition premiered in June 2023 at the Melting Ice, Sinking Cities exhibition at the CDL Green Gallery, Botanical Garden, Singapore.  

Since 1993, MICHAEL has been credited as the principal author and photographer of 39 books about the ocean. His accolades include winning more than 68 international photographic awards and being named one of the world’s most influential nature photographers by Outdoor Photographer. Michael AW’s essays and pictures have been published in BBC Wildlife, GEO, National Geographic, The Smithsonian, Nature, Ocean Geographic, Asian Geographic, Nature Focus, The Times, and Discovery to name a few.

Conference Topics:

Deep Sea Mining: Deep Water and Ocean Sustainability

Richard Bailey

A recognized pioneer in the field of sustainable hospitality, Richard Bailey is the founder of French Polynesia’s largest luxury resort group, developer of the multi-award-winning resort The Brando, and founder of Tetiaroa Society, which conducts ground-breaking scientific research into new solutions for oceanic sustainability.

Sample innovations include the world’s first Seawater Air-conditioning (SWAC) system, which uses deep ocean water —an inexhaustible source of carbon-neutral non-fossil energy—for cooling at the Brando and other resorts, as well as Tahiti’s main hospital; a natural mosquito eradication technology, now being scaled for application to other islands communities; and frontier research in ocean chemistry and acidification using the deep-sea resource.

Richard is passionate about French Polynesia, where he has spent most of his life, and about the potential of business as a force for good. He has been awarded the prestigious Legion of Honor in France and was recently named an Ocean Elder, joining luminaries such as Drs Sylvia Earle and Jane Goodall. Richard holds a BA and MA from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard University.

In 2018, Richard launched the Blue Climate Initiative (BCI), inspired by a conversation with Barack Obama while staying at The Brando. The aim was to assemble the world’s greatest minds to accelerate oceanic-based solutions to climate change by pairing scientific research with bottom-up innovation. The Blue Climate Initiative is now working globally across numerous countries and supports solutions that address “transformational opportunities”.


Jessica Novia

Jessica is an intuitive and well-rounded sociopreneur. She started her career at a global management consulting firm McKinsey&Company and continued pursuing her corporate career at global FMCG company Unilever as potentially the youngest Indonesian Global Brand Manager.


She answers her calling to dedicate her life to nature and humanity, by building social enterprises. Her enterprise CarbonEthics, aims to decarbonize the world through community-based blue carbon conservation while improving the livelihoods of local communities and biodiversity. Bumi Journey, her other enterprise, aims to connect people with nature by providing a regenerative travel experience that makes people Feel Good and Do Good.


She was recognized as a Woman Changemaker by and a Finalist of the Blue Water Heroes Awards by Tatler. She has been featured at various prestigious events and media such as COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference), G20 Summit Blue Economy, Asia Berlin Summit, National Geographic, Nikkei, and many more. CarbonEthics has been awarded as a Finalist in various Awards such as Top 3 Most Impactful Startup by JICA, ESG Awards by Indonesia Biodiversity Foundation, B20 Sustainability Awards 4.0 by Swiss Chamber of Commerce and many more. Bumi Journey is sponsored by the European Union to acquire sustainable travel certification by Travelife and also chosen as part of ASEAN Social Enterprise Development Programme.


Together with her team, she has reached more than 1 million people and planted more than 300,000 blue carbon ecosystem seedlings (mangrove, seagrass, coral), and improved the livelihood of 250+ local community beneficiaries while improving biodiversity. &

Nithiya Laila

Nithiya is a Singaporean TV presenter, writer and founder of Brunch Bandits, a dining pop-up and farmer’s market focused on sustainability and equitable food systems. Her TV show, the award-winning Channel News Asia ‘Edible Wild’, is a travelling docu-series featuring how ultra urbanites of Asia’s megacities grow, forage and cook with indigenous ingredients.

Nithiya’s ambitions and passions lie in educating on the importance of culturally diverse diets and quality locally grown farm-to-table produce while preserving biodiversity and ensuring the longevity of the planet’s resources. She is a Gen T Leader of Tomorrow and has been profiled for her work in the field of sustainability in Vogue, Tatler, Female Magazine and Singapore Tourism Board amongst others.


Conference Topics:

Blue Carbon: Coral Spawning/Coral Reef

Professor Peter Harrison

Peter is an internationally recognised research leader in coral reproductive ecology and reef restoration and has worked on many reef systems around the world for more than 40 years. He is passionate about marine ecology and discovery science and their applications to the conservation management of reefs and other ecosystems. Peter co-discovered the mass coral spawning phenomenon on the Great Barrier Reef (Harrison et al. Science 1984, 223: 1186-1189) with colleagues during his PhD in the early 1980s and has been awarded multiple prizes for excellence in science research and University teaching, including a Eureka Prize for Environmental Research. Much of Peter’s reef research has focused on the Great Barrier Reef and in the Philippines, with additional research on reefs in Japan, Micronesia, French Polynesia, the Arabian Gulf, Florida, Bahamas, Maldives, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia. In 1995, he was the Project Leader for a United Nations-funded mission to assess the impacts of the first Gulf War on the coral reef systems of Kuwait and has a new coral species discovered in the Arabian Gulf named after him (Porites harrisoni). He has led many successful international and national research projects with large multidisciplinary collaborative research teams from equatorial to subtropical reefs, as well as research on cetaceans and Antarctic oil pollution.

Peter’s current major research focus is coral and reef restoration, and he leads large multidisciplinary projects pioneering the world’s first large-scale successful coral larval restoration projects using millions of coral larvae to restore damaged reefs in the Philippines, GBR, Maldives. New projects are being developed to work on other SE Asian reefs and in other reef regions around the world. He has been awarded more than $23 million in external research grants resulting in more than 200 research publications and >15,000 citations. He has supervised >60 PhD and other higher degree research students, and has a coral species discovered in the Arabian Gulf named after him (Porites harrisoni). Peter also led the development of the SCU Whale and Dolphin Research Centre as its Director since 2002, which has supported numerous postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers on whales and dolphins in Australia and overseas. He was the Founding Director of the Marine Ecology Research Centre at SCU, and has been appointed to a range of expert committees and panels including the Australian Threatened Species Committee from 2005-2015 (deputy Chair from 2009), the Christmas Island Expert Working Group 2009-2010, the National Environmental Research Program Advisory Panel in 2010, and two Expert Panels to assess the impacts of a Supertrawler on marine wildlife.

Peter also greatly enjoys communicating science research to the broader community and has featured in more than 30 television documentaries including BBC Blue Planet Live, BBC Our Changing Planet and PBS Changing Planet in 2024, plus hundreds of interviews to highlight science research and promote conservation and environmental management. He also features as one of the Ocean Sentinel sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor which are submerged on the Great Barrier Reef as part of the Museum of Underwater Art.



Conference Topics:

Blue Carbon: Coral Reef

Dr. Toh Tai Chong

Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore

Dr. Toh Tai Chong is a marine biologist and he currently lectures in a residential college in the National University of Singapore. For the past ten years, he has been working with local communities in Southeast Asia to conserve coral reefs and to develop reef restoration techniques. To date, he has published more than 50 publications related to marine conservation. Within the college, he collaborates with a multidisciplinary team to teach topics related to sustainability and conservation.

Outside of work, he is the co-founder of Our Singapore Reefs and he works closely with private and public sectors to reduce the impacts of marine debris. He speaks frequently at local schools on a range of environmental issues and has facilitated workshops for school teachers to develop their environmental education curriculum.

Conference Topics:

Blue Carbon: Blue Carbon and Education

Sheree Marris

Marine Biologist, Science Communicator, Director, Commentator, Author and Public Speaker

If Sheree had her choice, she would have gills instead of lungs, a breath-hold to rival the sperm whale and a sparkly green mermaid-esque tail. Since she doesn’t, she spends as much time as she can diving and blowing bubbles to capture the wonders of our underwater world. Her happy place is developing innovative projects that bridge the gap between science and the public. Works have included international travelling exhibitions, IMAX movies, documentaries and marine based community engagement projects. She’s currently working on several documentaries, campaigns in the Saudi Red Sea, an underwater sculpture installation and a marine exhibition that fuses arts and marine science.

One of Australia’s most dynamic environmental communicators, you can find Sheree sharing her knowledge through; regular television appearances on The Project and Studio Ten and guest spots on talk-back radio. She’s also a regular contributor to Ocean Geographic, Australian Geographic and Club Marine magazines.

Sheree has gained a reputation and profile among the Australian community, national corporate organisations and all levels of government as an expert in her field. Her work has seen her awarded numerous accolades in including several Young Australian of the Year awards and the Australian Centenary Medal for outstanding contribution to conservation and the environment. She has served on several government boards and committees and is currently the director of several marine conservation organisations. She was also the recipient of a scholarship for the Centre for Sustainable Leadership.

An award-winning author, this creative sea-nymph is currently finishing off her sixth book, Octopuses – Underwater Wonders a world first guide that showcases the breathtaking diversity of the planet’s most extraordinary animals. Preceding this was KamaSEAtra – Secrets of Sex in the Sea, a humorous read about the unique reproductive methods of sea creatures and th parallels they share with humans. Along with Assoc. Professor Jamie Seymour from James Cook University she is currently in discussions with major networks and production houses in Australia and overseas to develop their highly successful YouTube Channel – The Nature of Science into a TV series and podcast.


Quentin Fouesnant

Founder of Qanopy Consulting, Sustainability & ESG Advisor

Quentin has dedicated the past 12 years to advancing energy and sustainability initiatives across the Asia Pacific region. Holding a Master’s Degree in Engineering, Quentin embarked on his mission to drive the energy transition through roles at Alstom and General Electric. His conviction that the energy sector required a radical transformation led him to join Metron, a start-up focused on enhancing energy efficiency and decarbonizing some of the most energy-intensive industries.

As Managing Director of FiscalNote ESG Solutions and Zuno Carbon, Quentin developed comprehensive carbon and ESG management solutions, empowering organizations to progress in their sustainability journeys. In 2024, he founded Qanopy Consulting, a sustainability advisory firm committed to assisting businesses at various stages of their sustainability journey.

Quentin’s passion for making an impact extends beyond his professional endeavours. He actively engages with non-profit organizations such as the Halogen Foundation, EB Impact, and Temasek Trust, where he mentors youths and start-up founders striving to create meaningful change.