Geneviève Desportes is French and stepped into the office of General Secretary of NAMMCO on 1st April 2015. She has been living in three of the four NAMMCO member countries: five years in the Faroe Islands, one year in Iceland and now in Norway. She also lived 23 years in Denmark.
Geneviève has been involved with the Scientific Committee of NAMMCO since its inception in 1992 and chaired the Committee from 2005 to 2009. She was also the coordinator of Trans North Atlantic Sightings Survey (TNASS) that was conducted under the auspices of NAMMCO from 2006 to 2009.
Geneviève believes in the sustainable and responsible use of natural resources associated to animal welfare, science-based management supported by traditional knowledge (TEK) and transparency in management advice and processes. Her aims are to render NAMMCO more visible as an effective regional management organisation and develop ecosystem approach to management.
Formerly she ran her own biological consultancy in Denmark, working for a variety of government, non-government and international organisations. Her main occupation has been the coordination of projects related to marine mammal conservation, with a focus on abundance estimation and harbour porpoise by-catch mitigation. In 2011-2015, she was also the Coordinator of the North Sea Conservation Plan for Harbour Porpoises, under the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetacean of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Sea (ASCOBANS – CMS).
From 1997-2005, she was employed by the Fjord and Belt Centre, a Danish marine centre, and develop and led the Marine Mammal and Research Department. Geneviève was responsible for initiating and coordinating the research on harbour porpoises, which focused on by-catch mitigation but also encompassed physiology, husbandry, behaviour, acoustics and satellite telemetry.
Geneviève is educated in France, from the Universities of Bordeaux (B.Sc in Biology and Physiology, 1980), Brest (M.SC in Biological Oceanography, 1981) and Poitiers (PhD in Physiology, 1985).
Besides her scientific work, Geneviève has two adult children and has been deeply involved in working with refugees. Between 2006 and 2015, when she moved to Tromsø, she was the chair of a charity association, LINK, supporting refugees in her home-town of Kerteminde in Denmark. In her free time, Geneviève balances between seas and mountains, enjoying activities such as mountain trekking, canyoning, rafting, sea kayaking, winter swimming and bicycling. She also enjoys poetry, theatre, movies and novels.