An Interview with WiseOceans… Elisa Fini from Baros Maldives
This week we are with Elisa Fini, Resident Marine Biologist at Baros Maldives. It is not the luxury of the resort that holds her interest, but the spark in the eyes of the guests as she teaches them about the importance of the reef…
Name: Elisa Fini
Job Title: Resident Marine Biologist
Organisation: Baros Maldives
- What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
Of course the passion for the ocean and marine life, started in the Adriatic sea and culminated when I came in Maldives for the first time on holiday. I started to feel the need to be in strict contact with the sea every day and fight actively for its conservation.
- What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
Well, first of all we need to be educated so I started with a Bachelor in Aquaculture & Ittiopathology, followed by a Master in Marine Biology, both with the University of Bologna (Italy). After my studies I took the decision to follow my heart and move to the Country where I left my heart (Maldives) and find a position that includes marine conservation and environmental awareness. The only other step that is missing in my dream career is to abandon the high profile resorts to work with locals and concentrate on field researches rather than guests’ needs.
- How did you land your current job/position?
I found the first job in Maldives through my diving instructor, he knew a Marine Biologist that was working in Maldives but wanted to go back home for 6 months so I just came as a replacement for 6 months, twice. The working conditions were not optimal on that island so I started to look for other opportunities and spreading the voice on Facebook, between marine biologists working in Maldives, I got a couple of interviews. I started in Baros with 3 months internship as Marine Biologist, afterwards I became Marine Centre Assistant Manager/Resident Marine Biologist and at the end I was promoted to Marine Centre Manager/ Resident Marine Biologist.
- Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Taking care of the coral nursery is the most enjoyable and relaxing activity for me
- Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Whenever we give a second chance to coral fragments, replanting them on the artificial structures and whenever we see interested guests during the environmental awareness speeches. Sharing our knowledge is the key.
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
How frustrating this kind of job could be, seeing every day that most of the locals and the tourists do not respect and protect at all the wonders of nature they have around.
- Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
We never get enough knowledge, we never learn enough skills and as soon as you get familiar with something new you understand that somehow it can be used for improvements.
- What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Never stop to experience, new techniques, new ideas, never give up, we are as scarce as hen’s teeth but together we make the difference.
- What is your favourite marine creature and why?
Manta rays, these gentle giants did cast a spell on me with their grace and their elegance. When they swim towards you with their 1.5 metres mouth open… can’t help but hold my breath.
- What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
Too many to choose… Snorkelling with dozens of feeding mantas, snorkelling with whale sharks, diving with hammerhead sharks in the open ocean in the early morning with the bioluminescence of plankton… Perhaps if I have to choose I would say a curious dolphin that left its pod to “study” me for a while. Or when I saw the turtle hatchlings in the lagoon! Aaaahhh sorry, this is a very difficult question, I cannot choose!
Thanks Elisa, we forgive you for having so many unforgettable moments at sea! We also totally agree together we make the difference.
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