Over 763,000 square miles of ocean are now protected from pollution, seabed mining, and overfishing thanks to one 48-year-old marine conservationist.

Jacqueline Evans is the hero behind the Marae Moana legislation that was passed in the Cooks Islands, protecting the ocean territory rich with stunning array of marine biodiversity—including whales, sea turtles, manta rays, seabirds, several threatened shark species, and migrating humpbacks.

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Despite how traditional Polynesian cultures have come to rely on large-scale commercial fishing, Evans spent five years tirelessly persuading, traveling, and advocating for the legislation’s approval.

In July 2017 her conservation goals became enshrined in law, and now Evans is being honored with the 2019 Goldman Prize for Islands and Island Nations.

(WATCH the video below or Read More about Evans’s career at the Goldman Prize website)

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