Michel Strogoff
Michel photographing drying shark fins, NW Madagascar Author: Michel photographing drying shark fins, NW Madagascar
2021

Michel Strogoff

Filmmaker

meet michel

Michel “Goff” Strogoff is a former shark, turtle, and sea cucumber fisherman who became an environmental filmmaker, photographer, and adventurer. His life changed when the British NGO blue ventures started working in his small fishing village and he learned about conservation and marine protection. In 2014, by chance he met an environmental filmmaker who taught him to film and photograph. He now travels to some of the most remote places in Madagascar and dives deep into uncharted cave systems, films the relocation of Madagascar’s largest lemur, and goes undercover to expose the illegal tortoise and turtle trades.

Nominated by: Travis Steffens FN'14
Class of 2021 Location Madagascar

The most meaningful aspect of my work is to document the realities of what is happening to the environment in Madagascar. By opening peoples’ eyes, change and solutions can be found. This is what happened to me! My first job in broadcast TV was to go further out to sea than I had ever been with the Malagasy Coast Guard. We boarded huge industrial vessels to witness the enormous bycatch and waste. As a local fisher, this made me angry and inspired me to try and help protect our oceans. By showing people imagery of this, I hope that others will be inspired to join me to protect our planet.

“If we don’t do something now, it will be too late”

- Michel Strogoff

I take risks by going undercover to expose wildlife crimes. If we don’t do something now, it will be too late. People must know the consequences of their actions or they will not stop! To expose the illegal tortoise trade in Madagascar, we posed as buyers with hidden cameras and managed to infiltrate a group of illegal tortoise traders who were selling critically endangered species. They are now in jail for their crimes, and I hope this will stop other people from becoming involved in this trade.

On a recent expedition, one highlight was filming giant whale sharks and green turtles by swimming with them. As a former shark fisherman, I had always been very afraid of sharks. On our last day of filming we needed footage. I spotted the most curious shark which swam right up and circled me and the snorkelers. The interaction was incredible as the shark really seemed to connect with us. I managed to get some best ever shots!

never stop exploring

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