About Us . . .
COARE was founded and is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
A world where our oceans are respected by all humankind.
A world where everyone strives for a sustainable and harmonious relationship with the ocean and its creatures – and where individuals, businesses, and governments encourage one another to continually make conscious and informed decisions.
Executive Director and Founder Christopher Chin is a multi-agency scuba instructor and technical diver whose passion for the ocean stems back to childhood. He first became certified in 1996, and has been teaching actively since 1999. He is an accomplished underwater videographer and writer who has traveled extensively and speaks several languages. Christopher served as a Regional Stakeholder for the implementation of California's Marine Life Protection Act, and was heavily involved in the design of and support for the network of Marine Protected Areas adopted for California's North Central Coast. Christopher is an internationally recognized expert in ocean policy and conservation issues, and has provided valuable and persuasive testimony to various governing and legislative bodies in the U.S. and in Canada.
Director Nico Danan was born in the south of France spending most of his summers freediving and discovering the beauty of the Mediterranean sea. Always attracted by the big blue, Nico decided to find a career that would link him to the ocean. After becoming a SCUBA instructor in 2001, he started working as a project coordinator for Bio Explorations, a nonprofit organization for the preservation of the coral reef in Panama, where he lived for two years in the remote islands of Bocas del Toro. In 2004, he became the chief diver for Fabien Cousteau's expedition/documentary film on great white sharks "CBS: Mind of a Demon". Nico is now an ocean storyteller at oceanminds.com and writes for deeperblue.com.
Director Jilian Epstein is a science educator on the central coast of California, both inside and outside of the classroom. When she is not teaching high school biology (with a hint of social and ecological justice), she is working actively in the community to spread awareness about human impact on the environment. Her passion for ocean conservation and public awareness has led her to work alongside the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Institute for Applied Marine Ecology, and the Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education.
Director Clemente's love for the outdoors stems from growing up in a small Northern California town surrounded by farm land. The son of farm laborers, Clemente gained an appreciation for developing a sustainable relationship with the environment, and saw first hand the effects of exploiting nature's resources - both on the land and on people. Impassioned by a desire to promote beneficial social and environmental change, Clemente eventually pursued a career in law, and has experience in the California State Legislature, where he worked on the Marine Life Protection Act and other environmental legislation. Clemente left state service to fight for the rights of the underprivileged as an attorney with the Sacramento County Public Defender's office. He now has his own law practice in Sacramento, and is currently laying the groundwork for a Latino community legal clinic.
Director Richard Nelson fell in love with the ocean during his childhood, watching far too many Jacques Cousteau television specials. Raised by an avid environmentalist, he decided to become an ecologist after studying about global climate change. After earning his degree in Environmental Science from the University of California at Berkeley, he worked for two Members of Congress in Washington before returning to California, where he works in the software industry. Richard met and befriended Christopher Chin in a SCUBA class in 1996. He has since traveled the world with his wife and daughter, exploring the oceans and learning and teaching about endangered ecosystems. His particular passion is marine mammals.
Advisory Board Sonja Fordham founded Shark Advocates International as a project of The Ocean Foundation in 2010 based on her two decades of shark conservation experience at Ocean Conservancy. Her work focuses on publicizing the plight of sharks and advocating science-based remedies before fishery management and wildlife conservation bodies. She has been a leading proponent of landmark shark conservation actions, including U.S. and European protections, international fishing limits, various finning bans, and listings under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Convention on Migratory Species. Sonja is Deputy Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Conservation Committee Chair for the American Elasmobranch Society, has co-authored numerous publications on shark fisheries management, and serves on most U.S. government advisory panels relevant to sharks and rays. Her awards include the U.S. Department of Commerce Environmental Hero Award, the Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award, and the IUCN Harry Messel Award for Conservation Leadership.
Advisory Board Francesca Koe is a scuba instructor holding advanced teaching qualifications from both PADI and DAN. An avid freediver and oceans advocate, Francesca co-founded the tsunami relief project, Paavima.org, and is a key member of the Blue Matters project -- a team advancing the scientific use of rebreathers for deep ocean exploration. When not in the water, Francesca directs strategy and communications for an international environmental advocacy organization, and manages editorial content as the senior editor for Deeperblue.com, where she contributes articles on dive safety across all disciplines. In 2007, Francesca was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association; in 2009, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees for SF Baykeeper, and currently serves as the Vice President of the United States Apnea Association.
Advisory Board Johann Mourier (Ph.D.) is a scientist specialized in shark's behavioral ecology. Since 2005, he has spent a large amount of time in direct contact with sharks and rays (including great white, basking, great hammerhead, lemon, grey reef or blacktip reef sharks as well as stingrays and manta rays) to study their behavior using a set of advanced techniques such as social network theory, molecular analysis, biotelemetry, photo-identification, hormones and isotopes analyses, always in a non-invasive way. Johann has published his research in several peer-reviewed scientific journals making him a worldwide recognized shark expert. He is also the secretary and scientific advisor for a shark observatory in French Polynesia (Observatoire des Requins de Polynésie) which records and gather all elasmobranch observations in the region and is also a member and advisor of other shark associations. He has also contributed to several documentaries and press articles in the perspective of contributing to public awareness and education about sharks. All his actions are following a same aspiration: to contribute to a better conservation efficiency of sharks and rays.
Advisory Board Marty Snyderman is a still photographer, film producer, author, and speaker specializing in the marine environment. Marty's still photography and/or writing has been utilized by National Geographic Magazine, Skin Diver Magazine, numerous National Wildlife Federation publications, Natural History, Dive Training, Sport Diver, Time, Newsweek, Time Life, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the New England Aquarium, Sea World, and the Seattle Aquarium, and by numerous other publications and organizations worldwide.
Marty serves as the Marine Life Editor and as a regular columnist for Dive Training magazine. He has been involved in underwater photography for 25 years and continues to produce compelling images of marine life in attempts to raise awareness and interest about many marine issues. Marty is an Emmy Award winning cinematographer, and his work has been used by PBS, Shark Week, Warner Brothers (Free Willy), the National Geographic Society, NOVA, the British Broadcasting Corporation, many major broadcast networks and many more organizations expressing interest in marine wildlife.
Advisory Board Captain Tim Taylor is an accomplished naturalist and explorer with over 25 years of underwater experience. In recognition of his discovery of the Sherwood Forest Reef tract in the Dry Tortugas, Tim was honored as a Fellow National in the Explorers Club in 2004. Sherwood Forest is considered the centerpiece of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve and has become world famous since its discovery in 1997. Tim's experience includes 18 years as a US Coast Guard Captain, numerous SCUBA instructor ratings, underwater still and video expertise, and extensive fieldwork. He has guided many world famous researchers and explorers such as Dr. Sylvia Earle and Dr. Eugenie Clarke on expeditions in the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Florida Keys. Tim is currently President and CEO of the Research Vessel Tiburon, Inc., based in Key West Florida.
Advisory Board For the past 20 years Jim Toomey has been writing and drawing the daily comic strip Sherman's Lagoon, which is syndicated to over 150 newspapers in North America, including the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Toronto Star. It also appears in over 20 foreign countries, in French, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian and Swedish. Jim has just completed his eighteenth book, published by Andrews McMeel. Sherman's Lagoon combines two of his life-long passions: art and the sea. In addition to drawing his comic strip, Jim is active in marine conservation, and has been recognized by many organizations, such as the United Nations Environmental Programme, NOAA, NPR, TED, and Discovery Channel for raising public awareness of the oceans in a humorous way.
Advisory Board Rex Weyler is one of the founders of Greenpeace International, and sailed on the organization's first whale campaign. Rex is a well respected journalist, writer, and ecologist whose photography and essays have been published in the New York Times, Oceans, Smithsonian, Rolling Stone, New Age Journal, Conscious Choice, New Times, Shared Vision, National Geographic, and other publications.
Advisory Board Stephan Whelan is the founder of DeeperBlue.com, a leading website and community for underwater enthusiasts of Freediving, Scuba Diving, and Spearfishing. A keen scuba diver since an early age and more recently a freediver, Stephan is a passionate ocean advocate and regularly provides support for various marine conservation groups around the world.
Above water Stephan has held senior positions in various IT organisations and lives with his wife in London, UK.