Blue finance team
Our team is positioned for the success of our MPAs
• “On the ground” team
More than 50 rangers, community officers and managers are implementing MPA management, science, compliance, revenue generation and community development in local MPA management entities.
• International team
A multi-disciplinary senior international management team is supporting the local MPA management entities. The team brings a comprehensive mix of expertise for effective management and sustainable financing of MPAs.
We are one of the only teams with experience in co-managed, self-financed MPA project execution in developing countries.
Our international management team
Nicolas Pascal (PhD)
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Nicolas’ expertise combines marine science, economics, finance and policy; all aimed at protecting marine ecosystems. On the marine side, his more than 50 economic studies, scientific publications and technical reports on ecosystem services of coral reefs, have been used globally, to inform and convince policy makers. On the business side, Nicolas’ former positions include investment director and project developer for multinational companies as well as founder and CEO of a B2B company. These dual skill sets now inform marine conservation, inspiring alternatives and new approaches. Nicolas completed a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from ICN (France) and received his PhD in Marine Science from the Universidad de Barcelona (Spain).
Angelique Brathwaite (PhD)
Director Conservation & Science – Co-Founder
Angelique is a Marine Ecologist responsible for coordinating conservation and science programmes for our MPAs. She is an expert in both coral reef science and integrated coastal management, with over 25 years global experience. She headed the Marine Research Section for Government in Barbados, for over a decade, developing coral reef related research projects; as well as management of reef systems within an integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) framework. She holds a PhD in Marine Biology from the Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) Research University and is a PADI Instructor.
Following a childhood passion, Gary began his ecotourism career in the African safari industry in the early 90’s, after completing a BSc in Zoology & Botany. Starting as a safari guide, Gary was deeply immersed the industry’s core offering, creating unforgettable interpretative wilderness experiences for visitors. He later transitioned to management and over several years had the privilege of honing his commercial skills in both the B2B and B2C arenas, from face-to-face relationship building through to the fast-paced and forever evolving sphere of digital travel. He later extended his skills to broader strategic expertise and delivering comprehensive business performance, via a progression from a pivotal COO role, several CEO postings, and time as a start-up entrepreneur. At all times in his career, he has centred on the principle that professionally managed responsible ecotourism is our most effective conservation instrument. .
Director of Operations
Roland is responsible for coordinating and supporting our MPAs and brings more than 15 years of experience as a senior executive in the consulting, SME finance, banking and token money sectors. During his professional life in Madagascar, Myanmar, Nigeria and Tanzania, he developed strong skills in management, problem solving, strategy, business development and digital finance. He has brought together financing for SMEs, retail banking and technology to create high added value services for low and middle income clients. Roland holds a MSc in strategy, marketing and finance from the École Centrale de Paris.
Our advisory team
Thomas Vignaud (PhD)
Underwater Tourism Expert
Thomas is a shark and wildlife tourism expert collaborating with Blue finance in the development of sustainable tourism activities and revenue generating mechanisms. Thomas experience comes from both scientific research and the blue-tourism industry. He created several sustainable tourism projects benefiting both nature and people. He completed his PhD on sharks, and participated in several scientific missions, mainly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In Fiji, Thomas designed and managed a shark diving and conservation project that led to the development of a local MPA along with other benefits for communities.
His work focuses on revealing, empowering or rebuilding coral reef ecosystems, as well as designing sustainable tourism strategies and businesses. His latest projects are turn-key solutions designed to boost tourism economy, scientific research while improving ecosystems health. Thomas is also a diving and freediving instructor as well as an award-winning underwater photographer.
Blue Carbon Associate
Marina is our Blue Carbon project expert. Marina is specialized in natural solutions for GHG sequestration and storage, climate change, results-based funding and Payments for Ecosystems Services schemes. Since 2003, Marina gathered experience in project design, management and monitoring, notably in the scope of sustainable landscape projects in terrestrial and marine areas working with a multitude of international donors, research institutions and private stakeholders. She has developed, certified and managed more than 15 carbon projects, alongside more than 40 social and environmental sustainability projects worldwide. In addition, she has developed participatory methodologies for social engagement, impacts evaluation and strategic planning. Marina is a Brazilian forestry engineer from the University of São Paulo with a master in Sustainable Development and International Relations from the Graduate Insitute in Geneva.
Underwater Cinematographer associate
Nicolas is an underwater film maker and collaborates with Blue finance for the development of the Virtual Reality exhibit solutions. Nicolas has worked for more than 20 years in many film and TV productions. Passionate about the sea as well as computer graphics and video editing, this tech addict became a professional in underwater filming. Nicolas has realized more than 70 nature productions covering a wide variety of subjects, from institutional and educational films to scientific documentaries and ecological reportages. He is the co-founder of Oceanica Productions managing all phases of underwater audiovisual production. He also created GEOM, an organization developing multimedia educational tools for children to promote awareness of the fragility of the marine world. Nicolas was trained as a diver from COMEX; a company specialized in deep-water engineering operations.
Blended Finance Associate
Aurélie is a senior portfolio management leader with more than 14 years’ experience in finance (bank and asset management) with a focus on fixed income and credit in developed and emerging markets and a passion for impact and sustainable investing. She has expertise in structuring new investment products, creating inventive new business model including blended finance and all portfolio management functions inc. FX & liquidity management. She is managing portfolios of private debt globally and was managing USD 2BN in the impact investing space (Financial Inclusion, Sustainable Agriculture, Climate and Water) for 5 years up to 2020.
Aurélie is as a well a fervent diver since her youth and she is now PADI instructor. She holds a Business School Diploma, a Master Applied in Finance from Macquarie University in Sydney, the CFA designation and has completed the Business Sustainability Management Programme from Cambridge Institute.
Serge Planes (PhD)
Coral reef science associate
Serge is a coral reef scientist collaborating with Blue finance in the development of marine conservation planning. Over the past 20 years, he has published more than 200 papers in international journals mainly dealing with the population genetics of coral reef fishes as well as papers dealing with ecology, ecology of marine protected areas and recruitment of marine fishes. ISI Essential Science Indicators (ESI) analyzed research into coral reef ecosystems in the past decade (1995-2005) and ranked his work at #19 in the world out of 5,060 authors (see http://esi-topics.com/coralreef). His views have major implications for conservation planning.
Eric Clua (PhD)
Fish science associate
Following a double training in veterinary medicine (Toulouse89) and applied economics (ESSEC91), Eric CLUA worked in the sustainable development sector (livestock) in the Caribbean (1991-1995) and then in West Africa (1996 to 1999). Following a PhD (2004) on tropical reef fisheries (Western Pacific), he was coordinator between 2005 and 2012 of an international program on the sustainable management of coral reefs in the Pacific (CRISP), funded by the French Development Agency (AFD). Scientific advisor to the High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia from 2012 to 2016, he is now Profesor in Marine biology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, based at the CRIOBE USR3278 EPHE-CNRS-UPVD, in Moorea (French Polynesia). Specialist in the behavioral ecology of large marine predators, Prof. Clua is an internationally renowned expert of shark conservation and shark risk management..
The MPA managers
Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, Belize
Valdemar is the manager of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve and Executive Director of Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA) the local entity managing the MPA on behalf of Government. Valdemar is a specialist in natural resources and trust fund management with over 16 years of experience. Valdemar brings extensive work experience at high levels of the NGOs, public sector and statutory bodies. He has been involved in negotiations, development and implementation, on behalf of Belize,of initiatives such as the Debt for Nature Swap, the National Protected Areas Policy and System Plan, and long term protected areas funding, the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan etc. He also has the opportunity to sit on regional boards and committees. Valdemar’s vision is to make the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve the model marine reserve for Belize where the resource user will take an active role in the management and decision making based on the information received form the stakeholders themselves and the best available science.
Valdemar holds a Degree in Environmental Planning and Policy, with concentration in Parks and Recreation Management, from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW).
Julio López Díaz
Santuario Marino Arrecifes del Sureste, Dominican Republic
Julio is the manager of the Eastern part of the Marine Sanctuary and Director of the ‘Alianza’ Association, the local entity managing the MPA on behalf of Government. Julio is a specialist in natural resources and community development with over 25 years of experience. Julio has been the founding member and executive director of several social NGOs, with extensive experience in managing relationships with cooperation agencies and donations to development projects. He has coordinated several inter-institutional networks and has participated as a teacher / mentor for young environmentalists. He has developed sound experiences in working with groups from some of the most marginal sectors of the Dominican Republic.
Julio holds a BSc in Biology from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD).
Tompotika and Banggai MPAs, Indonesia
Marian is the executive director of the Yayasan Tompotika Biodiversiti Lestari Foundation, the local entity managing the Tompotika and Banggai MPAs on behalf of Government. Marian has developed management experience in the tourism industry in Indonesia following her passion for hospitality and nature. She explored also the world of non-governmental organizations, where she worked for local Liveaboard Association. She ensured harmonious relationship between the local governments and Liveaboards association as well as achieving conservation projects such as the Carrying Capacity studies.
Marian holds a bachelor law studies in the Netherlands.
Bonifacio C. Tobias
North Oriental Mindoro MPA network, Verde Island Passage, Philippines
Bonifaccio is the manager of the ‘Blue Alliance’ the official entity managing the MPA netwrok on behalf of local Governments. Bonifaccio has more than 2 decades of experience in managing and implementing community-based environmental conservation projects. Activities encompass marine and terrestrial ecosystems, biodiversity conservation and resource-management initiatives, social enterprise, monitoring and evaluation, participatory social research and technical research. He has written more than 25 approved project proposals funded by different international donor-agencies. He has worked with program linked to World Heritage Site and Community-Management of Protected Areas for Conservation.
Bonifaccio holds a Bachelor of Arts Major in Political Science from Palawan State University and a MSc in Rural Development from Western Philippines University.
Abdul-Rahim Ali Omar
North Pemba MPAs, Zanzibar
Abdul-Rahim is the manager of the ´Kwanini Foundation´, the local entity managing the MPA on behalf of Government. He is responsible for the smooth running of the Kwanini Marine Protected Area and works in collaboration with the Government and communities in Northwest Pemba, Zanzibar. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with various studies in finance and project management. As part of his role, he works closely with local rangers and the MPA Steering Committee. Before joining the Kwanini Foundation as a local liaison officer, he worked with two local NGOs where he developed his leadership skills. Abdulrahim was brought up and lives in the nearby community of Makangale so understands the needs and wishes of the local people.
Our MPA practitioners and mentors
Senior MPA Practitioner
Antonio is an expert in Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation with more than 30 years’ experience in that field. He supported directly the development of the national network of Marine Protected Areas in Guinea Bissao, focusing on participatory management and community development. He was also responsible for project coordination of the Banc d’Arguin International Foundation in Mauritania and advisor to the Banc d’Arguin National Park Directorate. He managed also a large portfolio of projects focused on biodiversity conservation in West Africa, as Manager of the MAVA Foundation.
Captain Joseph Ierna Jr.
Senior MPA Practitioner
Joseph is a senior MPA practitioner expert in Blue finance and collaborates with the development of sustainable tourism activities and revenue generating mechanisms for our MPA projects. Joseph has been the administrator of Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, Bahamas National Trust during several years. Under his command, the park achieved financial sustainability , for the first time in the parks 60 year history. Before that, he was the Founder/Director of a non-profit organization working in marine and land conservation in Bahamas and Florida. He successfully developed a Research and Education Facility in Long Island, Bahamas in conjunction with 257,000 acre Marine Protected Area — Long Island Marine Management Area (LIMMA). Joseph is also a confirmed 500-ton Captain that has successfully navigated the globe’s oceans, built Team Americas Cup IACC Class Sailing Vessels and worked as a naval architect.
Our Expert Advisory Board
Tundi is an internationally renowned expert in marine conservation, with extensive field and policy experience in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, North America, and the Pacific. Tundi specializes in coastal planning and assessment, marine protected areas, fisheries management and ocean zoning, and has published widely in these fields. She founded Sound Seas in 2001 as an independent group working at the nexus of policy and science to promote marine conservation. She has served as Senior Scientist for the World Wildlife Fund and began Conservation International’s Global Marine Program, which she oversaw as Senior Director. She also led the coastal portion of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment – a 3-year global analysis released in 2005 that represents the consensus of over a thousand scientists on the state of the world’s ecosystems. She completed her undergraduate work at Wellesley and Dartmouth Colleges and then received her Ph.D. in biological sciences and Masters in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island and was postdoctoral fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Eleanor is the Successional Director of the award winning Chumbe Island Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Zanzibar, Tanzania, where she was the first Project Manager through the design, development and implementation phase in the mid-nineties. This first financially self-sustaining MPA in the world continues to flourish today, with all operations fully funded by cutting-edge zero-impact ecotourism, where 100% of funds generated from visitors are re-invested into MPA management, research, and education for school children.Eleanor is also the founder of Sustainable Solutions International Consulting (SSIC), and has more than 20 years of consulting experience supporting sustainability initiatives in Africa, Asia, Pacific islands, Mediterranean, and West Indian Ocean regions. Eleanor areas of specialism include: marine and coastal management (MPAs, ICZM, EAFM), training and capacity building, sustainable tourism, multi-lateral environmental agreements (MEAs), and community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Eleanor has also held posts as the Senior Advisor to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Executive Director of Environment and Development Consulting.
Pierre is an Independent Consultant for Finance and Sustainability. His main clients are large financial institutions, renowned corporations as well new disruptive entrepreneurship initiatives. Indeed, amongst several mandates, he is a Senior Advisor for BNP Paribas’s Corporate Engagement Department, Project Advisor for Deme Group and Senior Advisor to the CEO of innovative nature-based businesses such TerraGrn and Blue Finance.
In addition to this consultancy role, Pierre has founded and supervise as Executive Chairman, Nomad Plastic Ltd, a social business providing marine services for sustainable coastal tourism, fighting ocean plastic pollution, building resilient ecosystems for marine biodiversity conservation and development of the local coastal communities in emerging markets.
Prior to this, Pierre has more than three decades of experience across the financial services industry, two thirds of which have been spent in Asia Pacific. For more than 16 years, he was a Senior Executive Manager for BNP Paribas, most recently Head of Global Markets and Financial Institutions Coverage in Asia Pacific from 2015 to 2018 before acting as Senior Advisor for Sustainable Business on his return in Europe from 2019 to 2021.
Forward-thinker and pushed by a practical and collaborative business drive, Pierre’s main achievement has been in leading BNP Paribas to be one of the main international finance players in Global markets in Asia-Pacific, mainly in Japan, but also in the newly-owned markets in China, India and the emerging South-East Asia. He also demonstrated a strong pioneer spirit by leading the creation one of the first electronic trading system in the late nineties and developing the first sustainable blended finance transactions for nature-based projects 5 years ago.