French / British citizen with Russian ancestry originally from the French Alps near Geneva, James started scuba diving in the Mediterranean at a young age, inspired by Cousteau, and films ‘The Big Blue’ and ‘The Abyss’ by Besson and Cameron.
After studying a BA in cinema at the University of Exeter (UK) where he graduated in 2007, James attended film school in Paris and traveled the Pacific starting in New Zealand. He ended up in Samoa and on the Great Barrier Reef working as a dive guide.
After returning to Geneva in 2012, James worked in environmental communications between Switzerland and Oxford and across Europe, before returning to University in 2015.
In 2016, James graduated with a Masters of Science (MSc) in Marine Systems and Policies from the University of Edinburgh.
Since then, James has worked globally as a consultant in marine science and policy communications.
His work includes projects on high seas governance, seamounts, microplastics pollution, climate change impacts on the ocean, deep reef research, biodiversity monitoring, ocean risk and marine protected areas design and governance.
He is the co-founder and CEO of Manaia Productions, a strategic communications and film production agency specialized in marine science. He also runs his own private consultancy, Marine Communications helping UN organisations, government and nonprofits in the marine science and policy spaces.
He worked as project manager and producer with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the World Wildlife Fund, Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy, the Ocean Acidification Alliance and the UK and French governments.
In 2019, he served as Media Advisor for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, in the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for sustainable Development.
He is a member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas and contributes to its marine young professionals task force.
James is a PADI scuba instructor, professional scientific diver, underwater videographer, and sailing enthusiast.
He lives in Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand with his wife and two sons and is a Fellow with the Edmund Hillary Fellowship.