Love The Oceans, Founder & director
Not many people get to experience the beauty of Mozambique and even fewer get the opportunity to fight to protect it. The fierce Francesca Trotman founded Love The Oceans, a no-profit in Guinjata Bay, Mozambique, when she was 21 years old and has been working with local community members and volunteers from all over the world to create a healthy ocean and sustainable livelihoods.
Trotman’s main focus is establishing a Marine Protected Area (MPA) – a legally-protected zone where human activities are more regulated & monitored to stop over-exploitation of aquatic resources and/or protect sensitive ecosystems like coral reefs from harm. On this, Trotman says, “As a fairly new NGO, we’re constantly developing new pilot projects and new research. We’re the only NGO in our area – there are no other charities, environmental or otherwise, so everything we do is the first of its kind and it’s all very exciting! We’re hoping to get the MPA established in the next 3 – 5 years through a bottom-up, community-led approach.” Francesca’s passion for the ocean is also matched with her care for the local community and creating sustainable livelihoods for the people who call the coasts of Mozambique home. Trotman continues, “Our educational outreach programs ensure that when the MPA is legally established, there will be a local community that is equipped and skilled to manage it successfully. Boosting ecotourism in the area through the creation of an MPA will also lead to job creation, poverty alleviation, and sustainable, locally-led conservation management.”
But it truly takes a village and Francesca is most fulfilled when helping others ignite their own passion for our oceans. Love the Oceans employees and volunteers donate their time and feed their passion doing research and educational outreach including fisheries research to prove that the current methods of fishing are unsustainable, coral reef research to prove that our oceans are worth protecting, trash research to study the composition and amount of trash washing up on the shores, and megafauna research to prove that they can guarantee a tourist a whale sighting to show there is a very viable ecotourism asset already in place in Mozambique. It’s not easy work though and lots of time, sacrifice, and dedication fuels Francesca’s fire. Trotman observes, “The conservation industry is renowned to be full of very poorly paid but very passionate and driven individuals… It’s a lifestyle choice by every staff member and I love my job.”
Her advice to other women in water and those looking to make positive waves: “Never give up! Resilience is key! I cannot count how many times people have told me what I’m doing is impossible and every time, I prove them wrong. Get back up and keep going. You experience a lot of prejudice against women in the STEM work space and it’s important to not let it get you down. Use it to fuel your passion and prove them wrong!”