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Rose Huizenga Named 2023 Seiko Sea Hero of the Year

The marine conservationist plans to use her $5,000 award from Seiko to fund five more years of empowering women through local coral restoration
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Rose Huizenga Named 2023 Seiko Sea Hero of the Year

A portrait of Rose Huizenga.

Valerie Blanchard

For Rose Huizenga, the financial support she’ll receive from Seiko as 2023’s Sea Hero of the Year is not merely a sum of money, but the foundation for girls in Indonesia to be given the chance to build better lives, stronger coral reefs and brighter futures. In her words, the award “symbolizes hope, progress, and the collective power of individuals and communities coming together for a shared vision of a healthier planet and empowered societies.”

Huizenga continues, “This recognition reaffirms that the efforts of myself, my incredible team and our Coral Catch Superwomen are making a real difference. We will utilize the $5,000 prize money from Seiko toward our mission to empower 100 local girls in the next five years to pursue a career in marine conservation. Furthermore, we will teach another 100 local girls how to swim, so we can show them all the beautiful things the ocean has to offer.”

You can see the joy on Huizenga’s face and hear the pride in her voice every time she speaks about the Coral Catch Superwomen. She is a change-maker, and it has not gone unnoticed by Seiko or former alumni of the Coral Catch program.

Learn More About Rose Huizenga and Coral Catch

Coral Catch empowers women in Indonesia to work in marine conservation.

Florian Allgauer

“On behalf of Seiko, we thank Rose Huizenga for her outstanding commitment to ocean conservation through her important mission of restoring coral reefs in Indonesia,” says Takeshi Sakamoto, president and CEO of Seiko Watch of America. “Rose’s perseverance to both protect our oceans and inspire others to get involved in marine conservation exemplifies a true Sea Hero. We congratulate Rose for receiving this great honor and applaud her enduring efforts to empower her local community to protect our beloved ocean habitats.”

Avicenna Wijayanto, a 2022 alumna of the program, shared that participating in Coral Catch not only boosted her selfconfidence but showed her what women can accomplish together. “I felt a deep connection with strangers I had just met on the island! We got to support coral rehabilitation in Gili Air and create new experiences together while doing one thing we love: diving!”

Coral Catch recently hired Wijayanto as their new program manager after she completed her thesis and worked for several Indonesian businesses and nonprofits as a public awareness coordinator within the marine conservation industry.

Huizenga and her team of Coral Catch Superwomen are genuinely making a difference through their determination and collective action. We applaud and congratulate her for being awarded the 2023 Sea Hero of the Year.

Related Reading: Australian Teen Shalise Leesfield Named 2022 Sea Hero of the Year

Scuba Diving's 2023 Sea Heroes

A portrait of Hiroshi Sato.

Koh Yamaguchi

January—Hiroshi “Kuma” Sato

Founder of Sanriku Volunteer Divers

In the wake of a natural disaster, Sato returned home to Ofunato, Japan, to lead seabed-restoration efforts and train the next generation of mission-driven divers.

A portrait of Nancy Caruso.

Nancy Caruso

March—Nancy Caruso

Founder of Get Inspired

Caruso and her team of volunteers successfully grow, transplant and outplant kelp in Southern California. Due to their success, her team started restoring other species along the coast, such as green abalone.

A portrait of Carl Charter.

Courtesy Carl Charter

April—Carl Charter

Co-founder of Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries (EMS) South Australia

Charter uses his 30 years of conservation experience to help enable ocean access for people of all abilities while promoting the protection of South Australian waters.

A portrait of Muditha Katuwawala.

Courtesy The Pearl Protectors

May—Muditha Katuwawala

Founder of The Pearl Protectors

After reading a report that identified Sri Lanka as a top ocean-polluting country, Katuwawala started with beach and ocean cleanups, and evolved to address more urgent needs.

A portrait of Douglas Woodring.

Courtesy Ocean Recovery Alliance

June—Douglas Woodring

Founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance

Woodring delivers tools to nations, companies and individuals to help curb plastic pollution. Divers can help by using the Global Alert app to note the locations of underwater detritus.

Related Reading: Rose Huizenga Named Sea Hero for Making Conservation Careers Accessible

A portrait of Tiffany Newman

Into The Ocean Society

July—Tiffany Newman

Founder of Into the Ocean Society

Driven by a desire to give back, Newman saw an opportunity to help atrisk youth on Vancouver Island by sponsoring scuba certifications, introducing a new generation to careers in diving.

A portrait of Catherine Macdonald

Courtesy Cliff Hawkins/Field School

August—Catherine Macdonald

Director of University of Miami Shark Research and Conservation Program

As the first woman to be appointed director, she also provides mentorship for aspiring marine biologists while conducting research in South Florida and the Caribbean.

A portrait of Shane Gross

Kayla Dalla Rosa

September—Shane Gross

Conservation photojournalist

As a marine conservation photojournalist, Gross shares vulnerable and uncomfortable images, like his viral 2020 photo of a decaying sea turtle, to help demand action for our oceans.

A portrait of David Martin

Courtesy Oceans For All

October—David Martin

Filmmaker, co-founder of Oceans for All

Martin identified a disconnect between hospitality and tourism and is collaborating with industry leaders to spark change. OFA supports projects in Thailand to combat climate change.

A portrait of Stella Diamant

Courtesy Stella Diamant

November—Stella Diamant

Founder of Madagascar Whale Shark Project

Diamant works with locals in Madagascar to identify and collect whale shark data. Her team developed a code of conduct for interacting with whale sharks that was recently signed into law.


Nominate a Sea Hero Each Sea Hero featured in Scuba Diving receives a Seiko Prospex SRPD43 watch valued at $525. Judges annually select a Sea Hero of the Year, who receives a $5,000 cash award from Seiko to further their work. Nominate a Sea Hero at scubadiving.com/seaheroes.