Marco Project Manager Indo Ocean Project - An Interview with WiseOceans

This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke with Marco Bastaroli, Project Manager for Indo Ocean Project

Name: Marco Bastaroli

Role: Project Manager

Company: Indo Ocean Project

Top Tip: Mentoring, organisation and language skills are a must in this field

Quick Fire Questions

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation? 

Quite common but since I was a child growing up in Italy I was fascinated by the ocean and all the creatures that live in it. Snorkelling, swimming, sailing, surfing and diving… whenever I got the chance I was spending time in the sea. After a small parenthesis in which I wanted to be an astronaut, since a young age I wanted to study marine biology. Now I like to think that I’m an “Hydronaut” that explores a much more alive space

2. What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?

After studying marine biology and assisting as an intern in different laboratories, I decide to try the SCUBA diving career and got my divemaster and instructor certification. I worked for a few years as an instructor in different parts of the world until I got this position at Indo Ocean Project where I can now combine these two professional aspects

3. How did you obtain your current position? 

I was working in Nusa Penida when Indo Ocean Project started and I had the chance to know and hang out with the staff and their first interns. When I left Penida a divemaster that I trained started to work with the project and so when they needed an instructor and marine biologist to start a new project in Bira my name came out. My previous experience in both diving and teaching in Indonesia and my graduate degree in marine biology meant I was qualified to step directly into a management and development role within Indo Ocean Project

4. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?  

It’s hard to pick one. As I said before I love that I can combine in equal part my diving and marine science backgrounds. But probably the best is to be able to focus on training experienced divers that are really passionate about conservation and this allows me to raise the bar of the training more and more so that I can form great dive professionals

5. Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’? 

Especially now that I work in a remote area I realize more and more the need of people able to inform and preserve the marine environment from the increasing human pressure. 

Teaching dive professionals and conservationists and knowing that they will go around the world and pass this value to other people, hopefully creating a cascade effect of ocean advocates, is highly motivating

6. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?  

Going back I would probably start earlier to take pictures underwater. With the global pause in international travel due to the pandemic the last 2 years I started to learn about underwater photography and really changed the way I approach diving. It is like rediscovering everything with new eyes. On top of that, a nice underwater picture is one of the best ways to involve non-diving public in marine conservation topics and get the discussion going by breaking down the ocean communication barriers

7. Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?

Mentoring, organisation and language skills are a must in this field. Social media and communication skills are also especially important in these times to be able to spread the message to the general public and try to involve as many people in the marine conservation cause

8. What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?  

Don’t give up and be professional. Unfortunately it is not easy to find a decent job in the marine conservation field. However, if you keep your working standards high, sooner or later you will find your opportunity. 

Try also to participate as much as possible in conservation activities. From the local beach clean-up group to opportunities in the university environment and beyond. Networking is an important part of landing that dream job. When combined with past skills and training your name will stand out when the time is right

9. What is your favourite marine creature and why?

The thresher shark. It is mesmerizing when it swims, with a funny face that clashes with the common perception of the scary shark

10. What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?

Probably when I saw my first oceanic manta (and manta in general) in Thailand. This was during an otherwise really boring dive in an area where they haven’t seen mantas in years. Completely unexpected and so special to see these ocean giants!

Don’t give up and be professional. Unfortunately it is not easy to find a decent job in the marine conservation field

Marco Bastaroli

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