2013 June Michael successfully lobbied to the Ministry of Fisheries and Trade of Brunei to ban the import and trade of shark products; on 8 June, at the 12th Celebrate the Sea Festival 2013 the festival celebrate the most momentous biggest milestone since the inception of the festival in 2002. Minister Pehin Dato Yahya in his opening speech declared: “His Majesty, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, through the Department of Fisheries, will enforce the ban on the catch and landings of all shark species from the waters of Brunei Darussalam and thus their sales in the domestic market. Furthermore, the government will also now officially enforce the ban on the importation and trade of all shark products.” Brunei was the first country in the world to declare a ban on shark fins and all shark products.
2011 July – Michael AW initiated the 1000KidsOneMessage campaign in Hong Kong. With the support of his associate Dr Elizabeth Quat, 1000 children convened at Cyber Port on 9 July, to make the “I am the Future, I won’t eat Shark fins” pledge. Dr Sylvia Earle, David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes were on site to support the initiative. In 2012, Michael AW intends to stage the same event in Singapore.
In 2007, Michael garnered some of the world’s most celebrated underwater photographers, film makers, scientists to be on board his dream journal Ocean Geographic. The current editorial board now comprised of Dr Gerry Allen, Dr Carden Wallace, Emory Kristof, Stan Waterman, David Doubilet, Jennifer Hayes, Cabel Davis, Laurent Ballesta, Doug Perrine, Howard and Michelle Hall, Alex Mustard and Wyland. Today, Ocean Geographic is the one of the world’s most inspiring journal of the sea.
In 2004, Michael AW collaborated with good friend Mathieu Meur to produce the “Essential Guide to Digital Underwater Photography”. The Advanced edition was launch in 2007. This year they are working on the 4th edition; since the first edition the title is a best seller, adopted by many photographic instructors as their ‘Bible’ for underwater photography instructions. In 2007, Michael & Mathieu conducted the first Essential Digital Underwater Photography workshop in Bali; in December 2011 they conducted their 8th workshops and the many international awards won by past graduates attest to the success of their program.
In 2002, with the launch of his book, he founded the first Celebrate the Sea Festival in Singapore. His vision was to inspire nations and countries to take a day each year to celebrate the sea. In September 2007, he lobbied to Usec Cynthia Carrion and in March 2008, he wrote officially to Her Excellency Gloria Arroyo, President of the Republic of Philippines. On 13 May 2008, President Arroyo made an official proclamation declaring June as Celebrate the Sea month and every 2nd Saturday of June as Celebrate the Sea day. This was his personal milestone and he wished to make Celebrate the Sea a global event. In 2011, Celebrate the Sea celebrated its 10th Anniversary in Manado, Indonesia with over 3,000 entries in the children’s art competition and nearly 1,000 entries for the international underwater imaging competitions.
In 1998 Michael co-founded Asian Geographic with good friend Christopher Lee; he managed the title as publisher till 2005. In 2001, he acquired Scuba Diver Australasia for Asian Geographic and successfully revamped the title to become the PADI Diving Society magazine in 2004. Today Asian Geographic and Scuba Diver SDAA are the most acclaimed periodicals in the Asia Pacific.