Conservationist Jacqueline Evans led a five-year grassroots campaign to protect the Cook Islands’ stunning marine biodiversity. Because of her tireless organizing, in 2017, the Cook Islands enacted new legislation to sustainably manage all 763,000 sq. miles of the country’s oceans.
A tireless defender of the oceans and marine life, Claire Nouvian led a focused, data-driven advocacy campaign against the destructive fishing practice of deep-sea bottom trawling.
Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera helped lead a successful campaign to establish a nature reserve in Puerto Rico’s Northeast Ecological Corridor—an important nesting ground for the endangered leatherback sea turtle—and protect the island’s natural heritage from harmful development.
In a country plagued by extreme poverty and political instability, Jean Wiener led community efforts to establish the nation’s first Marine Protected Areas by empowering Haitians to see the long-term value in sustainably managing fisheries and mangrove forests.
Howard Wood spearheaded a campaign that established the first community-developed Marine Protected Area in Scotland, giving citizens a voice in a debate that has been dominated by the commercial fishing industry.
Orri Vigfússon brokered huge international fishing rights buyouts with governments and corporations in the North Atlantic, effectively stopping destructive commercial salmon fishing in the region.
Bruno Van Peteghem worked against time and mining interests to protect New Caledonia’s reefs from destruction. On a fragile island where environmental regulations do not exist, he has confronted severe intimidation including the suspicious burning of his home.
Cofounder of a wetlands protection organization, Jorge Varela advocated for sustainable shrimping to protect ecosystems in the Gulf of Fonseca, where commercial shrimping destroys mangrove forests and poisons estuaries.
Recognizing the need to prevent a repeat of the 1992 collapse of fish stocks, Bernard Martin advocated for lower fishing quotas and Marine Protected Areas to stem the decimation by factory trawlers in the once abundant Grand Banks.
For 25 years, Hirofumi Yamashita fought a reclamation project in Isahaya Bay, one of the world’s richest wetlands, forcing the government to scale back the massive dike and reassess the reclamation’s environmental costs.