Introducing Anne-Marie Asselin
Anne-Marie Asselin is a marine biologist who's not afraid to talk about her conviction and her plans for the future. She's inspirational because of the daily work she does for our beautiful planet and the underwater world.
Most of all, she's passionate about what's she's doing and that's why we absolutely wanted her to be part of the 5 inspirational women for our Rockie capsule.
June Swimwear: Where do you get this passion for the maritime world?
Anne-Marie Asselin: Since I were very young, I have an obsession for water. I have always been at the pool, swimming, I always waded! When I was younger, from about 8 to 16 years old, my family rented a cottage in the lower part of the St-Lawrence river, at Trois-Pistole, next to my childhood friend's cottage. The Bas St-Laurent is a pretty magical region with its tides as far as the eye can see, the aurora borealis of August, the gray seals on the rocks. Even at 13 degrees Celsius, the water was never cold enough to keep me away from exploring our beautiful river and swimming with the seals. It's really where everything started for me, the marine world has just opened its doors! I started scuba diving at 17 years old, with now 16 years of underwater experience. There followed a lot of trips, dive trainings, apnea, research courses, conservation and underwater filming!
JS: Who is your biggest inspiration? And for what reason
AMA: Rob Stewart, the author of the documentary "Sharkwater", who died in 2017. He was a Canadian marine biologist, working in documentary, storyteller in marine conservation. He was the first to denounce the shark finning industry and the lucrative trade with China for the famous and prestigious fin soups. His work is probably my closest reference and inspiration. Through his work, he was able to raise awareness and open the discourse on the controversy, and raise the importance of protecting large predatory fish.
JS: What message would you like to pass on to future generations who are starting to be environmentally conscious?
AMA: Future generations will face new challenges, without protocols, nor stories of the past to refer to. They will experience more extinctions of animal species and loss of natural habitats than all previous generations. With the number of humans increasing exponentially on the planet, it is crucial to protect our natural environments, in order for us to persist on this planet. Go out and play, get off the beaten track, go swimming in the sea! It is by connecting with our environment that we understand the importance of protecting it!
JS: Can you tell us about one of your future projects?
AMA: I am launching my media and news company in science and environment, bilingual. The organization is called The Blue Organization and the launch is scheduled for the fall of 2018. I work with associates, collaborators and all kinds of inspiring people who stand out in their society by living in close relation to nature, who explore, who travel.
In parallel, I am planning an expedition in Catamaran (sailing) from Montreal to the Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia, scheduled for summer 2019. This is the first feature film project of The Organization Bleue, to educate people about the conservation of the coastal and marine environment.
The boat and the project is called Lady Bleue, a wink to the maritime environment with its boats bearing the name of great ladies. Lady Bleue travels and documents the Atlantic ocean with her crew, meeting with the resilience of the marine environment, in order to focus on what works in good management. The project aims to present the resilient universe of tomorrow, where the man rolls up his sleeves to reverse his fate and take charge for the preservation of the marine environment.
Did you know that around 50% of the world's population lives within 150 km of the coastline?
The expedition will host a dozen people and a scientific protocol for the quantification of microplastics all over the Atlantic Ocean. You can follow us through a web documentary series, but also from 2020, on big screens for our first feature film to highlight the decade for the Oceans by the United Nations (2020 to 2030). Check out our website!
JS: If you could be a marine animal, which one would you choose? Why?
AMA: I would probably be a dolphin just because they are coastal animals that are always traveling in groups. They are the perfect reflection of my lifestyle, always on the run, always well surrounded, always in the water!
JS: What is the most beautiful place where you had the chance to go diving?
AMA: Several ... I have a little spoiled baby syndrome ... But the Cocos Islands off Costa Rica are probably the most prominent place. I saw more sharks there than anywhere else, combined. I saw more than ten species, in a dive. I met a whale shark and a tiger shark, not to mention the hundreds of Galapagos sharks and countless groups of hammerhead sharks. Really exceptional! On the other hand, Ningaloo Reef on the West Coast of Australia remains the best preserved and diversified reef I have seen in my life!
JS: Where did you got the idea of starting '' Lady Bleue ''?
AMA: Several trips, several dreams, several meetings. People are very intrigued by my job, my travels and multiple underwater explorations. The diving and marine science community is very poorly represented by women, especially young women. The media in environment and science is also very little diversified. Think of David Attenborough, who narrates BBC documentaries, or Charles Tissère, who narrates Découverte in Quebec. It is high time to tell a story in this field, by young people and to give a more feminine voice to science.
I try to lift the veil on my universe as much as possible in order to raise awareness to people. We say we know the space better than our own oceans ... Yet, 70% of our planet called Earth is composed of water. So I bring you through this (crazy) crossing aboard Lady Bleue, to meet the phenomenal and simply extraordinary people.
JS: What makes you happy about your work?
AMA: To really be able to live my passion. Going into business is a pretty complex thing in itself, but thinking that I realize my own projects for real, with a solid plan, people who support me, it's really motivating!
I also work with teens, to train the next generation in marine biology, and environment. This job brings me a lot of pride and gratification by moving on to the next ones. Young people are very excited, and most are very aware of the importance of conserving our natural environments. There is a lot of hope!
In addition, my work allows me to continually push the boundaries of "storytelling", photography and underwater videography! I can never go without swimming with sharks, turtles, or see healthy coral reefs!
JS: What is your favorite song of the moment?
AMA: Really kitch, but when Patrick Bourgeois from les BBs died this winter (RIP), I was in Costa Rica with my friend Julie and we played the album constantly ... Doubtful, but I still listen "tu ne sauras jamais" in my car!
JS: What is the biggest challenge you have ever achieved in your life so far?
AMA: I have a very atipical course that I would not trade for anything in the world! I think this one is my biggest pride. It is by forging that we become blacksmiths (expression a bit desolate), but for me it's really true. There are no dreams too big, there is no single way to do it. It is by staying on tracks, it is by allocating indulgence towards yourself, it is to perserver, to be attentive of ALL the opportunities. It is to trust yourself, it is to work hard, and it is to roll up the sleeves when it is less easy. A big work you will say, that of a life I answer you. But nothing is impossible when you put the necessary effort into it.
In concrete terms, my studies are my greatest pride. 15 years of work and rigor. But there again, with the launch of my company and the expedition Lady Bleue, I would say that the day of the departure of the boat in summer 2019, I will surely shed tears of pride!
JS: If you had any advice to give to little Anne-Marie of the past, who would it be?
AMA: Good things come to those who wait. But I would not change much of my career. I have always been bold, daring. I would probably tell myself to stop stressing in the most difficult times, I would surely tell myself to trust more. But hey, it's also normal to have lived "ups and downs" with the life I chose!
Follow Anne-marie's adventure on social media
Team June xx