Michael Markovina

Michael Markovina has always had a deep love for the ocean, but he never imagined how far it would take him. From 2008 to 2010, along with his girlfriend Linda Schonknecht, Markovina crossed sea, sky and land to find, record and share innovative solutions to saving our marine life.

It was while working with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Gabon that Markovina, a fisheries biologist, came across two coast guards who inspired his epic marine expedition, Moving Sushi. Despite the depressing state of over-fishing and exploitation, the two were working exceptionally hard to create real possibilities for change. Markovina resolved to find similar people across Africa, Europe and Asia who, with positive ideas and projects, are turning a critical situation around. Schonknecht is a photojournalist and, in filming and sharing stories, they hoped to inspire action and “Africanise” solutions.

Travelling from Betty’s Bay to Tokyo and back in “Johnny”, a 4×4 that doubled as their home, Markovina and Schonknecht discovered their thoughts on marine conservation came to be worlds apart from the ones they’d started out with. Over two years, crossing 42 countries, they photographed and filmed individuals who, by adapting solutions to suit their cultures and communities, are proving that change is possible. They soon realised that the real story was not about fish but about what a fish represents to people. And although people are the problem, they’re are the solution.

In addition to a documentary, photographic exhibitions and talks, Markovina started TEDxSeaPoint — a local, self-organised event, in the tradition of TED, which brings people together to share “ideas worth spreading”. Like Moving Sushi. It’s part of his grand plan to link people globally and, in sharing ideas, change the fate of marine life. Despite another ambitious expedition — diving from Mozambique to Somalia — 30-year-old Markovina believes his foray into saving what he loves most is just beginning.

Lu Larche