Maria Alejandra Faria/Marine Biologist

Maria Alejandra Faria is a Marine Biologist, originally from Venezuela, with a Masters in Environment and Development, a Master Certificate at UVic on Project Management, and post graduate studies in Education (Environmental Education). She has more than 17 years of experience in marine research and conservation practices. In Maldives (2014-2015) she worked on a coral restoration program as part of the adaptation program for climate change under the Reefscapers program from Seamarc.

While working on this restoration project she set up a marine biology centre and designing the marine mammals observation program for a resort island in the Lhaviyani Atoll. While in Madagascar (2010-2013) she successfully ran a regional marine mammals conservation program within Cetamada (a French-Malagasy non-profit organization).

She was the first biologist to record the birth of a humpback whale and she also was the team leader for a multilevel scientific program that included satellite tagging, biopsies, field support the expert team registering acoustic vocalizations. She also was responsible for the photo identification of many of the whales and the design of a 10 years program for a sustainable development of whale watching industry while supporting science and local communities needs. In Reunion Island (2007-2009) she worked with cetaceans, turtles, coral communities, corals assessments database as well as a program review for sea turtles education.

In Venezuela (1998 – 2010) she promoted a project on Education for Sustainable Development in Rural Areas of Margarita Island, in alliance with over 40 stakeholders, including real schools, local government and private industry. The project has restored more than 20 ha of dry forest and mangroves. She led a comprehensive qualitative and quantitive research on how to effectively and efficiently change attitudes in communities for a better conservation strategy not only of endangered species but also of major habitats restoration

She runs an environmental initiative to strength international sustainable development programs, projects and activities, aiming to put into practice green and blue initiatives worldwide: www.oycos.org. Maria Alejandra became a Canadian Permanent Resident in 2014, under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme as Natural Resources Manager. She worked for a year as a Project Manager for World Fisheries Trust, with special involvement with the Amazon Fish International Cooperation Project, a sustainable aquaculture and fisheries project in the Bolivian Amazonian.

In the past year she has been working as Cumulative Effects Assessment Specialist for the Province of British Columbia (BC, Canada). She is addressing innovative cumulative effects assessments while working with indigenous people. She is a BC Registered Professional Biologist.

She has been a member of the steering committee of the South VanIsle Chapter for the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation. This chapter promotes the Sustainable Development Goals in the south of Vancouver Island, creating a networking space for multiple civil organizations that work with the SDGs locally and internationally