The president of Palau recently got to do something a lot of us have on our bucket lists (or just in our dreams): dive with “Her Deepness” herself, Mission Blue Founder Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Mission Blue last month conducted a Hope Spot expedition to Palau, where expedition members met with President Thomas Remengesau Jr. and talked about his efforts to establish a marine protected area in 80 percent of the waters around the South Pacific island nation.

Remengesau said of his campaign:

“I had to make the economic argument. I had to translate the value of conservation into dollar signs. So for sharks, we had to come out and say research and studies show that one shark is worth 1.9 million dollars over a 60 to 70 year life span. And a dead shark for a shark fin soup makes a couple of hundred dollars. This is grassroots information that is important for the stakeholders. Because they may not understand the scientific data and the interpretation of it.”

Earle herself lauded Remengesau’s effort:

“The rest of the world, if they see how it works here, can be inspired to do that too. I wish they would do it with their exclusive economic zone. But it’s also about behavior, what people choose to do, or not to do.”

Additionally, Earle gave Remengesau the organization’s inaugural Blue Heart Ocean Conservation Award to recognize the global impact his leadership was having.

For more info on the Hope Spot expedition to Palau, check out Mission Blue’s website.

(Photo credit: Kip Evans, Mission Blue)

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John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.

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