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Photographer Profiles

Maria Boukje Honig, WWF-South Africa (NGO)

M Honig - Marine Photobank Photographer

Maria B. Honig
WWF-South Africa (NGO)

Maria has always been fascinated by marine life. Living in a beautiful and diverse country such as South Africa really motivated her to want to work in conservation. Her aspirations grew and progressed into a determination to want to study Marine Biology at the University of Cape Town. Maria has spent a lot of time exploring the coastlines of many places in Africa, both by sailboat and fishing vessel, and has seen first-hand the general exploitation of aquatic resources. Seeing the destruction and yet also knowing the adaptable nature of humans drives her passion for working in marine conservation and fuels her need to be more proactive and involve herself in as many projects as possible.

Maria has worked extensively on seabird and other vulnerable species bycatch with BirdLife and the RSPB funded Albatross Task Force. She currently works for WWF-South Africa on the Responsible Fisheries Programme, which seeks to implement an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries in South Africa. Working closely with vulnerable species, including the most sensitive indicators of the ocean’s condition, namely seabirds, sea turtles and sharks, has dramatically augmented her dedication. Her work up until now has never limited her to making management decisions behind a desk, but instead allows her to interact directly with stakeholders and the general public, a conservation strategy she lives by. Maria spends up to three months of the year at sea on board commercial fishing vessels, observing and assessing ecosystem impacts and testing mitigation measures. The rest of her time focuses on wide spread training of fishermen, compliance staff and fisheries support staff on how to implement an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF). This training entails adopting responsible fisheries’ practices and balancing the ecological, socio-economic and governance components of fisheries across all sectors.

Maria encapsulates her philosophy on changing mind-sets and making behavioural changes with this quote: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” -- Confucius