Title: Rescue diver, entrepreneur/business owner, real estate agent, designer
Association, Company, Affiliations: Lionator Reef Protectors, REEF Environmental Education Foundation
Your favorite quote:
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net forever ~ Jacques Cousteau
Your message or mission statement: We know a lot about space and galaxies, but so little about our own ocean. We owe it to ourselves and our next generation to take care of our mother ocean.
Your latest endeavors and where they take place: I just started “Lionator Reef Protectors”. I became a “Reef Conservation Partner“. I want to do more than only lionfish hunting. There is a lot to do in Aruba towards the conservation of our sea and sea creatures. I am also working (early stages) with the Lionfish Patrol. Scott is great!!!
I also became the Dutch West Indies Factory Representative for the Lionator Polespears. It has been going great. I have known Walt Deelman for some years now and he gave me the opportunity to start selling the Lionators for him. Thank you Norman Arends for being our first dive shop that sells the Lionator! Now we have Jads dive shop and Nautilus dive shop also selling the Lionator. The Lionator family is growing!!
I have been part of many governmental meetings, marine environmental symposiums and presentations, the UN meeting for the introduction of the SDG’s. Now we are working towards Aruba’s Marine Park. I have been talking to many of my diver friends and fishermen friends that have many more years than me doing this. They have a big knowledge of our Aruban reefs and marine life. It is always interesting and highly educational listening to these guys.
What efforts are you most proud of? I started LionFish hunting in 2014 with the Aruba Reef Care Foundation. I helped with the organization of their derbies. I learned a whole lot there about the lionfish and our marine life in general. I will be forever grateful to Byron and Castro. In 2014 I opened a small restaurant at Aqua Windies… the Reef and Beef. I did put lionfish on my menu. And it is there that was introduced to Aruba Reef Care and the lionfish way of life! That is when I got certified as an open water Padi diver.
I helped with the setup of a foundation and we reached our 2-year goal. It was like watching a baby crawl and finally walk! We made more people aware of the lionfish invasion problem and aware of our Aruban Reef’s health in general.
…..We finally sat down with the governor of Aruba!! It was great to hear he is also with us all fighting for the conservation of our Aruban reefs. But it was time for me to go on with other endeavors. It has been fun to use my knowledge for designing, administration, accountancy, business set up and managing, for this cause. Our ocean!
I am proud of all my accomplishments.
Anything else you’d like us to know? There is a lot to do on the island regarding conservation of our marine life. I am ready to keep on going. I am focusing now on setting up Lionator Reef Protectors so we can start doing our work towards conservation of Aruba’s reef. I must mention Canicio van der Biezen. He has helped me a lot with all his knowledge. I am forever grateful for meeting lots of great people and super awesome fellow divers and fishermen. We all have the ocean as a part of our hearts!