The world’s preeminent honors for ocean conservation recognizes a diverse group of global leaders for 2016 His Excellency TOMMY REMENGESAU
Often called the ‘Academy Awards for the Ocean,’ the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards will honor a diverse group of eight ocean leaders including the President of Palau, a New York Times investigative journalist, a French sailing expedition, and the Mayor of a San Diego border town.
Past winners have included four Heads of State, U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense, senators, leading marine scientists, journalists, explorers, youth leaders and citizen activists.
Officially announced on the first Monday of the New Year, the 2016 winners represent an array of marine expertise across many sectors of society. They will attend the 9th annual awards on Friday May 20, 2016 at the renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. There they will receive award statues designed by acclaimed marine artist Wyland. This year’s winners are:
For Excellence in National Stewardship – President Tommy Remengesau Jr. of the Republic of Palau
Having helped establish a shark sanctuary and pristine dive sites, in October 2015 President Tommy Remengesau signed into law legislation protecting 80 percent of his Pacific island nation’s territorial waters from any extractive activities including fishing, drilling and mining—an area larger than California. Palau’s remaining waters will be open to fishing by locals and a limited number of commercial operators.
“Creating this sanctuary is a bold move that the people of Palau recognize as essential to our survival,” he announced. In December 2015 President Remengesau also signed an international treaty targeting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) pirate fishing. “Palau will not tolerate poachers in our ocean. We are getting tough on illegal fishing at home, and today we are signing up for the global fight,” he stated. Palau’s government proved its seriousness when it burned four foreign vessels caught illegally fishing in its waters.
Along with these bold initiatives President Remengasau has also been outspoken on the need for global action to address fossil fuel fired climate change that threatens many island nations such as Palau.
Source: Office of the President
Republic of Palau