John Rumney: Lifetime of Conservation

By Australian Geographic November 1, 2019
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John Rumney has taken out this year’s Australian Geographic Lifetime of Conservation Award.

John Rumney is a true pioneer of ecotourism on the Great Barrier Reef and one of the region’s great characters.

John’s relationship with the reef began with commercial fishing, but after years spent diving and learning about this unique and fragile environment, he became increasingly aware of the negative effects of human activities and in particular climate change. In his own words, “the more fish I saw disappearing, the more moved I felt to do something about it.” It led him to found the adventure, scientific research and dive vessel Undersea Explorer. Each trip offered free berths to reef researchers to facilitate vital access to remote places across the GBR. He also established Eye to Eye Marine encounters research and tourism operation which also facilitates primary reef research through tourism partnerships. His endeavours have supported hundreds of researchers as well as raised the standards under which wildlife tourism and diving operates on the reef.

John has received many awards for his environmental leadership. He sits on countless boards and committees that have led to increased awareness and action to preserve the reef and is the Managing Director of Great Barrier Reef Legacy, a global leader in marine expeditions that accelerate actions vital to the future survival of coral reefs.

John and has worked alongside and featured in many television programs and documentaries including for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, ZDF, Stern, Channel 10 news, and 60 minutes.


This award is sponsored by