EDITO Fall 2019


“The evidence is crystal clear: Nature is in trouble. Therefore we are in trouble.”

Sandra Díaz, co-chair of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

The IPBES Report, released on May 6, compiled by 145 experts from 50 countries, makes a devastating assessment of our planet’s biodiversity: 1 million species at risk of extinction. Human activities are clearly identified as responsible for the current alarming state of the planet. Oceans are suffering from overfishing, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species.
Fragile marine ecosystems have declined dramatically, with, to name only one of many issues, the global bleaching crisis facing coral reefs.

Oceans absorb 25% of the CO2 we emit. They are climate regulators. One of every two breaths we take is thanks to the ocean. Nearly 200,000 species living in our oceans have been identified but there may be millions more

It’s time to act.
When I created Pure Ocean in 2017, I believed – and still do! – that we have the potential to save our planet. Pure Ocean’s goal is to mobilize civil society to support ambitious and innovative projects for the protection of fragile marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Humans’ propensity to destroy our environment is equalled only by our capacity to innovate.
Thus the baseline of Pure Ocean: Innovation in the service of our oceans.

We are counting on you to help us continue to conserve marine biodiversity, protect and restore fragile marine ecosystems and contribute to the fight against climate change.

Before it’s too late.

David Sussmann,
President Pure Ocean Fund


#PureOceanLoverChallenge: 52 weeks for 52 sporting challenges


Beyond funding research projects, Pure Ocean organizes sports challenges to create awareness and mobilize civil society. The Pure Ocean Lover Challenge, inspired by the Ice Bucket Challenge, invites people to actively participate in a fun campaign to safeguard the oceans.

Every week, individuals or companies, will take up a sporting challenge: 1, 2, 3 or 5 km, individually or as a team, swimming, running, rowing, kitesurfing, paddling or sailing. Each participant will make a video of their feat and share it on social networks. They will also make a donation to help finance projects supported by Pure Ocean.

This is the first step towards creating Pure Ocean Lover Clubs around the world, a concept that we will be developing in order to demultiply the number of committed and active ocean lovers – Pure Ocean Lovers, for life !


65 applications received for the first Pure Ocean Call for Projects


Launched in April 2018, the first Pure Ocean Call for Projects was a significant milestone for the fund. We received 65 projects from 20 different countries, of which 33% were from France. We also received projects from : 13% UK, 13% USA, 6% Australia, 3% Canada and 2% New Zealand, as well as projects from European countries: Spain and Italy 6%, Belgium and Austria 2%. 12% of proposals came from other countries, including several developing nations, proving that the call for projects succeeded in reaching researchers around the world.

The distribution in the world’s oceans was quite homogeneous:
– Although a majority of projects, 36%, were in the Atlantic Ocean, this concerns many latitudes and various habitat types,
– around 20% in the Pacific Ocean
– 20% in the Indian Ocean
– 13% for the Mediterranean
– Arctic and Antarctic polar zones account for 8% of projects.

The call for projects stipulated three priority themes :  
1. Observe and measure changes in marine life, physico-chemical characteristics and their impacts on global dynamics,
2. Sustainable use of marine resources,
3. Identify techniques to restore ecosystems and biodiversity.


Projects also needed to take into account four key criteria :
Co-construction – Reflecting interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing among various stakeholders (research institutes, non-governmental organizations, public and private sectors)
Engagement – Demonstrate passion and determination while bringing together all adequate and realistic resources to effectively change the world.
Innovation – Improving our current way of interacting with the planet by developing new visions/techniques/methods, three types of innovation will be considered: technological, social and ecological (inspired by Nature).
Impact – correspond to one or more of the priority themes described above with measurable and sustainable impacts in the short / medium / long term.


Our Scientific Committee, a mark of credibility and committment   


Pure Ocean’s wish was to convene an independent & international Scientific Committee that would select the projects to be supported by the fund. The scientific credibility of the future foundation depended on it. In December 2017, this was accomplished! Distinguished scientists have honoured us by joining Pure Ocean. 

From France:
Françoise Gaill, research director emeritus of the CNRS and Scientific committee coordinator of the Ocean & Climate Platform ;
Gilles Boeuf, former president of the MNHN, President of the scientific board of the French Agency for Biodiversity & talented lecturer ;

From Morocco: Abdelmalek Faraj, CEO of the National Institute of Halieutic Research

From the USA: Anna Zivian, Senior Research Fellow at Ocean Conservancy, specialist in the scientific and political aspects of ocean climate change ;

From India: Kartik Shanker, faculty member of of the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore), leading specialist of sea turtles.

Oceanography, biodiversity, environmental policy & climate change: Pure Ocean can rely on the expertise of our 5 reknowned ocean specialists and on the support of Fabien Gilot, Olympic and World champion, President of the French National Sport Council and committed Ambassador!


With our three new recruits, Pure Ocean has consolidated its team and is now under full sail!

From left to right: Thomas, Gwen, Deborah, Laura, Stephanie

Here’s a little introduction to the team:

Laura Delaye is in charge of general coordination of the fund. After a master’s degree in Environmental Science and several experiences in sustainable development, Laura joined Pure Ocean at the beginning of the adventure. Surfer, runner & nature lover.

Favorite spot : San Ciprianu, near Porto Vecchio, Corsica


Deborah Pardo, PhD in Population Ecology, lecturer and enthusiastic scientist, is responsible for international calls for projects and coordination with the Scientific Committee. Deborah worked previously at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge on the impact of climate change and fishing on the decline of albatross populations. She has participated in numerous missions in Antarctica. Multi-tasker, energetic & passionate.

Favorite spot : Sub-Antarctic Islands.  


In December, Pure Ocean welcomed Gwen Lechat, donor relations specialist, and Stephanie Lerner, seasoned communications specialist.

Gwen is in charge of sponsorship and fundraising actions. A professional life dedicated to marketing and communication of general interest naturally led Gwen to mobilize her skills at the service of her first love: the oceans. Originally from Brittany, Gwen spent her childhood with a view on the fabulous Glénan Islands. Eco-warrior, optimist & determined.

Favorite spot: Pointe de Kersécol, Finistère

Stephanie manages external communications and public relations at Pure Ocean. Franco-American, she spent her childhood travelling between West Africa and the US. After a long career in art direction and advertising, she decided to use her skills to contribute to helping save the oceans.Beach debris artist, world citizen, ocean lover. 

Favorite spot: Aghia Theodoti, Ios Island, Cyclades.

In March, Thomas de Williencourt was appointed Director of Pure Ocean. With his past experience in public interest initiatives, notably in apiculture and sustainable agriculture, Thomas will be developping partnerships with key players who are mobilized on ocean health and preservation, at local, national and international levels. A committed entrepreneur, Thomas is building an international network of like-minded business people – the «Pure Ocean Lovers» – entrepreneurs who love their planet and want to take action too. Fast-moving, fast-thinking, eco-driven.

Favorite spot:  Malmousque in Marseille & Golfe du Morbihan