Who we are

Driving change

by leveraging our collective experience in successful co-managed, self-financed MPA projects in developing countries.

© Photo credit: Thomas Vignaud

Our story

Nicolas Pascal and Angelique Brathwaite established Blue Alliance in 2015 to explore the possibility of developing self-sustaining MPAs through securing innovative funding and building sustainable revenue models. Initially, part of our focus was on conducting an economic valuation of coral reefs and marine conservation to convince decision makers to invest more public money in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). 

While the rationale was compelling, it was clear that state resources alone would be unable to cover, in the short term, the budget requirements of each country’s growing MPA network. This realisation led to the development of our unique marine conservation model and, subsequently, to working closely with and on behalf of governments to create and nurture self-sustaining MPAs. 

Our approach

We focus on building effective MPA management capacity, optimising impacts, and strengthening financial sustainability.

Our approach is based on a multi-disciplinary central management team working closely with on-the-ground MPA teams.

1

Performance-oriented management is assessed against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

2

The central management team focuses on conservation strategy execution and sustainable revenue development.

3

The on-the-ground teams engage with local stakeholders and communities.

Blue Alliance Central Team

Our global executive team supports local MPA management organisations through a comprehensive mix of expertise in effective co-management and sustainable finance. Our collective experience is listed below.

30+ years

MPA operational management

40+ years

Coral reef and fisheries science

30+ years

Community enterprise and nature-based tourism

30+ years

Creative marketing and digital solutions for visitors

20+ years

Carbon certification projects

MPA Management Teams

More than 90 rangers, community officers, and managers implement Marine Protected Area (MPA) management, science & conservation, compliance, sustainable revenue generation, and community development.

Our teams are deeply dedicated to ocean conservation and community livelihoods. There is a real urgency to our work.

Every moment counts.

Every
moment
counts.

Meet the team

All
Management 12
MPA Managers 5
Expert Project Contributors 5
Board members 3

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, he has contributed over 50 economic studies, scientific publications, and technical reports on ecosystem services of coral reefs. These have been used globally, to inform and convince policy makers. On the business side, Nicolas’ former positions include experience as an investment director and project developer for multinational companies, and he was also the founder and CEO of a B2B company. His dual skillsets now inform marine conservation, inspiring alternatives, and innovative approaches. Nicolas has completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from ICN (France) and received his PhD in Marine Science from the Universidad de Barcelona (Spain).
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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 in addition to reef system management protocols compatible with integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) frameworks. She holds a PhD in Marine Biology from the Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) Research University and is a PADI Instructor.
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Gary Lotter

Ecotourism Director

Gary designs and implements sustainable, innovative, and financially viable nature-based programmes in our MPAs. Gary began his ecotourism career as a safari guide in the early 90s, after completing a BSc in Zoology & Botany. Gary was deeply immersed in the industry’s core offering, creating unforgettable interpretative wilderness experiences for visitors. He later transitioned to management and then honed his commercial skills in both B2B and B2C settings, going on to extend his skillset to incorporate broader strategic expertise and delivering comprehensive business performance, via his progression from a pivotal COO role, several CEO postings, and time as a start-up entrepreneur. His career has been based on a conviction that professionally managed, responsible ecotourism is our most effective conservation tool.
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Arnaud Gotanegre

Chief Operations Officer (COO)

Arnaud's expertise combines protection of biodiversity through leading ranger units, management of Protected Areas and their periphery with rural development, decentralisation, and governance enhancement (as a park manager and national director), and also in transboundary contexts. He is familiar with international standards such as those of the IFC/WB for the implementation of biodiversity offset projects for industry. Arnaud has extensive experience in supporting models for the management of protected areas, including the negotiation, establishment, and monitoring of public-private partnership management (11 instances since 2012). At the political dimensions, he has been involved in reforming national strategies and regulations. This multimodal understanding of conservation issues, combined with a network of national and international contacts built through an adaptive and impact-oriented approach, enables him to shape relationships of trust that are necessary for the missions he has been asked for. Arnaud has 17 years of professional experience, the majority in the field of conserving protected areas and managing natural resources in tropical zones. He holds a Master's degree in agricultural and forestry engineering, specializing in natural resources and tropical zone management. Additionally, he possesses complementary certificates in the value chain approach, climate change mitigation, and the REDD+ process applied to natural resource governance.
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Thomas Egli

Blue Economy Vice-Director

Thomas has always balanced his passion for the ocean with the love of communicating it with others. As a marine biologist with over 20 years of experience in the field, he studied dolphins in New Zealand, sea cucumbers in Canada, shrimp in Indonesia, and sea turtles in Costa Rica. As an award-winning naturalist and wildlife guide, Thomas introduced people to wild killer whales and led photographic expeditions and adventure tours to five continents. He has a master’s degree in environmental management from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and for the last 6 years has focused on developing socially and environmentally positive fisheries and aquaculture projects in emerging economies. At Blue Alliance, Thomas is Vice-Director of Blue Economy and will develop investible projects to help finance long-term conservation of marine ecosystems.
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Roland Coulon

Blue Economy Director (In Memoriam)

After battling his illness for several years, Roland died in January 2024. During his time with us, as director of Blue Economy, Roland brought his vision, his kindness, and his rigor. He has been a wonderful collaborator and Blue Alliance would not be where it is without him.
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Olivia Grubenmann

Communications Manager

Olivia is the Communications Manager at Blue Alliance. Aware of the power of communication, Olivia is excited to use her knowledge and experience to effectively convey the mission of Blue Alliance and drive positive change in marine conservation. Driven by her dedication to ocean protection, Olivia pursued a master's degree in Marine Conservation from the Université Côte d'Azur. As a part of her academic journey, she worked for a coral restoration NGO on Curaçao, where she helped strengthen the foundation’s communication and assisted with in-field coral restoration and education activities. This work placement also boosted her passion for underwater photography, scuba diving, and freediving. Before focusing on marine conservation, Olivia held communication roles within various environmental and climate protection organizations and worked as an editor and social media host at Switzerland's largest media company. In addition, Olivia has worked as a freelance writer, collaborated with different publishing houses, and co-founded an online magazine. Olivia holds a bachelor's degree in communication, popular culture, and philosophy from the University of Zurich.
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Elisabeth Winter

Finance Director; Director of Human Resources

Elisabeth believes that financial resources are essential to acting for the benefit of societal, environmental, and humanitarian causes. Elisabeth has 20 years’ experience as finance director in for-profit and non-profit organisations, both operationally and at an executive level. Combined with 10 years in the banking sector, this has given Elisabeth extensive experience and expertise in finance, accounting, control management and finance compliance in an international environment. She has worked on the ground in Somalia, Kenya, Georgia, and Armenia with Action against hunger (Action contre la faim) and as CFO in charge of finance, HR and IT for a French MedTech firm. Elisabeth has a degree from ESC Business School and a bachelor’s degree in management accounting (DECF). She has also volunteered as administrator and treasurer of Handicap International since 2021.
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Ryan Khoula

Junior Financial Controller

Ryan is a Junior Financial Controller at Blue Alliance, utilising his skills in managing financial data to drive the company's financial health and success. Graduating from Sheffield University Management School with a Master of Science in Management, specialising in economics, accounting, and financial management, Ryan possesses a strong passion for numbers and their profound influence on the success of organisations. With experience in accounting and banking, he finds great satisfaction in analysing financial data to optimise and enhance various business operations. Outside of his professional endeavours, Ryan demonstrates his commitment to community engagement by volunteering as a football coach and leading projects centred around addressing environmental risks.
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Daniel Sadd

Fishery Biologist

Daniel is working in collaboration with Blue Alliance as a fishery biologist. From his early scuba diving adventures at the age of 11 to captivating David Attenborough documentaries and family holidays rock-pooling along the Welsh coast, he developed a profound connection with the ocean. This passion drove him to gain a master's degree in Marine Environmental Protection at Bangor University and become a certified Scuba Instructor. Over the last 7 years, Daniel has worked toward implementing and managing one of the largest MPAs in the Atlantic, managing small-scale inshore fisheries in Ascension, and aiding long-term research into large-scale fisheries in the Falkland Islands. His belief in the power of inclusive science and community-based research drives his commitment to making a positive impact alongside the team at Blue Alliance. With a comprehensive knowledge of artisanal, sport, and commercial fisheries, Daniel brings invaluable insight. He has lent his practical skills to numerous projects, including small-scale movements and habitat use of key species within inshore fisheries using acoustic telemetry, large-scale movements of tuna and requiem sharks using satellite tags, and an ambitious first-of-its-kind eDNA project for the South Atlantic. Daniel is dedicated to championing sustainable fishing practices and fostering marine conservation. Safeguarding our oceans for future generations should be paramount.
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Bonifacio C. Tobias

North Oriental Mindoro MPA network, Verde Island Passage, Philippines

Bonifacio is the manager of Blue Alliance, the official entity managing the MPA network on behalf of Local Government Units. He has more than two decades’ 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. Bonifacio has written over 25 approved project proposals which have attracted funding from international donor-agencies. Bonifacio has worked with programs linked to World Heritage Site and Community-Management of Protected Areas for Conservation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Major in Political Science from Palawan State University and a MSc in Rural Development from Western Philippines University.
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Benjie Panahon

Blue Economy Manager

Benjie is an experienced project manager, institution builder, and trainer in the fields of MSME finance and development cooperation. Born and raised in Calapan City, Philippines, he holds a strong affinity with Blue Alliance’s marine conservation efforts since its impacts literally “hits close to home.” As Blue Economy Manager, he utilizes his expertise in project management and passion for sustainable development to engage with multiple stakeholders in exploring, establishing, and supporting opportunities to develop blue economies for our MPAs. Prior to joining Blue Alliance, Benjie has gained 15 years of international work experience in several emerging economies and holds a master's degree in Development Finance from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
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Mary Grace Catapang

Communication & Science Coordinator

Grace is the youngest in the team, working as the Communication and Science Coordinator of Blue Alliance Philippines. Growing up in a coastal community in Mindoro Island, Grace developed a strong connection with the ocean and the life it supports. She is a licensed scuba diver majoring in Biology with Specialization in Ecology and Systematics and a Minor in Data Science and Analytics at the Ateneo de Manila University. She previously worked on a research project with the Coral Lab of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC through the fully funded NHRE Program. With her interest in science, visual storytelling, and community engagement, she received an outstanding completion in the Marine and Community Conservation Externship of the National Geographic Society and The Nature Conservancy, where she developed an ArcGIS StoryMap about MPA management. As an early-career ocean professional, Grace hopes to contribute to inclusive science and community-based marine conservation that benefits both the people and the planet.
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Marian Doucet

MPA Manager Blue Alliance Banggai (Area 6 and 7), Indonesia

Marian is the executive director of the Yayasan Tompotika Biodiversiti Lestari Foundation, the local organisation managing the Tompotika and Banggai MPAs on behalf of the Indonesian Government. Marian has developed management experience in the tourism industry in Indonesia by following her passion for hospitality and nature. She has also been active in the NGO space, having previously worked for the local Liveaboard Association. Her role involved ensuring a harmonious relationship between local government and the Liveaboard Association, as well as enabling conservation projects such as carrying capacity studies. Marian holds a bachelor in law studies from the Netherlands.
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Hero Ohoiulun

MPA Manager Blue Alliance Banggai (Area 12), Indonesia

Hero is a graduate of IPB University, holding a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Marine Science. He is an expert in various aspects of marine conservation, including Marine Protected Area (MPA) management, Sea Turtle Conservation, Inclusive Conservation (ESSF and GEDSI), Community-based Marine Tourism, Fisheries Management, and Aquaculture. Hero’s expertise extends to Government Advocacy, where he actively influences public regulation, planning, and budgeting for sustainable practices. Since 2015, Hero has been a driving force behind the initiation, establishment, and management of 10 MPAs in eastern Indonesia, covering an area exceeding 2 million hectares. Notably, he has taken the lead in leatherback sea turtle conservation projects at the Kei Kecil MPA since 2015 and the Buru MPA since 2016. Beyond his professional endeavours, Hero is a certified Dive Master and displays his love for the ocean through underwater photography. He is known for his adeptness in fostering relationships with government bodies, community leaders, religious institutions, and key partners.
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Suleiman Kombo Ali

MPA Operation Manager, Blue Alliance PECCA, North Pemba

Suleiman Kombo Ali (Sele) was born in Pemba, where he received his secondary school education. He joined the Manta Resort in 2009, where he immersed himself in various training exercises related to tourism and hospitality, eventually becoming a service fundi. Sele received additional training from experts hailing from South Africa, Sweden, and Australia. He even had the opportunity to visit Sweden to gain insight into the hospitality industry there. Sele was appointed as the head of all service fundis at Manta Resort and then took on the role of Operation Manager for the hotel, where he served for seven years. His dedication to marine conservation led him to join the Kwanini Foundation, the conservation arm of Manta Resort. In 2023, he joined Blue Alliance. Sele's commitment to professional growth is evident through his additional training in teaching from the Ministry of Education in Zanzibar and security training from the Tanzanian Police force. In his free time, he also works as a Social Police officer, contributing to community safety and well-being.
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Valdemar Andrade

Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, Belize

Valdemar is also Executive Director of Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA), the local organisation managing the MPA on behalf of the Government of Belize. He is a specialist in natural resources and trust fund management with over 16 years’ experience. Valdemar brings extensive, high-level work experience in 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, as well as long-term protected areas funding and the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan. He also sits on regional boards and committees. Valdemar’s vision is to make the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve the model marine reserve for Belize, with resource users taking an active role in MPA management and decision making, based on information received form the stakeholders themselves, plus the best available science. Valdemar holds a Degree in Environmental Planning and Policy, with a focus on Parks and Recreation Management, from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW).
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Marina Gavaldão

Blue Carbon Associate

Marina specialises in natural solutions for greenhouse gas (GHG) sequestration and storage, climate change, results-based funding, and Payments for Ecosystems Services schemes. Since 2003, she has gained significant experience in project design, management, and monitoring, notably in the scope of sustainable landscape projects in terrestrial and marine areas, and through working with international donors, research institutions and private stakeholders. She has developed, certified, and managed over 15 carbon sequestration projects, and over 40 social and environmental sustainability projects worldwide. In addition, she has developed participatory methodologies for social engagement, impact evaluation and strategic planning. Marina is a Brazilian forestry engineer from the University of São Paulo with a master’s degree in Sustainable Development and International Relations from the Graduate Institute in Geneva.
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Nicolas Gilbert

Underwater Cinematography Associate

Nicolas is an underwater filmmaker who collaborates with Blue Alliance for the development of Virtual Reality (VR) visual communications solutions. Nicolas has worked on many underwater film and TV productions, combining his passions for the sea, computer graphics and video editing technology. Nicolas has created over 70 nature productions covering a wide variety of subjects. He is the co-founder of Oceanica Productions, a specialist underwater audio-visual production house. He also created GEOM, an organisation developing multimedia educational tools for children to promote awareness of the fragility of the marine world. Nicolas trained as a diver with COMEX, a deep-sea engineering enterprise.
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Aurélie Made

Blended Finance Associate

Aurélie is a senior portfolio management leader with more than 14 years’ experience in finance (banking and asset management), with a focus on fixed income and credit in developed and emerging markets. She also has a passion for impact and sustainable investing. Aurélie has expertise in structuring new investment products, creating innovative business models (including blended finance and portfolio management functions). She has managed global portfolios of private debt, plus USD 2 billion in the impact investing space (Financial Inclusion, Sustainable Agriculture, Climate and Water) for 5 years to 2020. Aurélie is a passionate diver and a PADI instructor. She holds a Business School Diploma, a master’s in applied Finance from Macquarie University in Sydney, and the CFA designation. She has also completed the Business Sustainability Management Programme from the Cambridge Institute.
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Serge Planes (PhD)

Coral Reef Science Associate

Serge is a coral reef scientist who collaborates with Blue Alliance 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 on ecology, ecology of marine protected areas and recruitment of marine fishes. ISI Essential Science Indicators (ESI) analysed 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.
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Antonio Araujo

Senior MPA Practitioner

Antonio is an expert in Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation with more than 30 years’ experience. He directly supported the development of the national network of Marine Protected Areas in Guinea Bissau, 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. Antonio also previously managed a large portfolio of projects focused on biodiversity conservation in West Africa, as manager of the MAVA Foundation.
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Eric Clua (PhD)

Fish Science Associate

Following a double training in veterinary medicine (Toulouse, 1989) and applied economics (ESSEC, 1991), Eric worked in the sustainable development sector (livestock) in the Caribbean (1991-1995) and then in West Africa from 1996 to 1999. After completing a PhD (2004) on tropical reef fisheries in the western Pacific, from 2005 to 2012 he was the coordinator of an international programme focusing 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 a Professor in Marine Biology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, based at the CRIOBE USR3278 EPHE-CNRS-UPVD, in Moorea (French Polynesia). A specialist in the behavioural ecology of large marine predators, Eric is renowned as an expert in shark conservation and shark risk management.
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Pierre Rousseau

Independent Consultant

Pierre is an Independent Consultant for Finance and Sustainability. His main clients are large financial institutions, multinational corporations, and entrepreneurial start-ups. 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 Alliance. In addition to these consultancy roles, Pierre has founded and supervised 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 developing local coastal community presence in emerging markets. Prior to this, Pierre had more than three decades of experience across the financial services industry, two thirds of which time was spent in the Asia-Pacific region. For over 16 years, he was a Senior Executive Manager for BNP Paribas, most recently serving as Head of Global Markets and Financial Institutions Coverage (Asia-Pacific) from 2015 to 2018. He then acted as Senior Advisor for Sustainable Business in Europe from 2019 to 2021. Pierre’s main achievement has been in leading BNP Paribas to be one of the main international finance players in global markets, with a particular focus on Asia. He also led the creation of one of the first electronic trading systems in the late 1990s and pioneered the development of sustainable blended finance transactions for nature-based projects from 2018 onwards.
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Thomas Vignaud (PhD)

Underwater Tourism Expert

Thomas is a shark and wildlife tourism expert who collaborates with Blue Alliance on the development of sustainable tourism activities and revenue-generating mechanisms. Thomas’ experience comes from both scientific research and the ocean tourism industry. He has created several sustainable tourism projects benefiting both nature and people, 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 turnkey solutions designed to boost the tourism economy, scientific research, and ecosystem health. Thomas is also a diving and freediving instructor, as well as being an award-winning underwater photographer.
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