Monthly Archives: October 2019

Japan’s First Hope Spot Honors Rare Coral Reefs and Dugong Habitats

(HENOKO-ŌURA, JAPAN) – October 24th, 2019   The coastal waters of Henoko-Ōura in Japan are an understated natural wonder. The tiny islands within these waters mark the northernmost point on Earth for blue coral (Heliopora coerulea) growth, where lucky divers can spot rare creatures including the largest known colony of blue coral in the world. This unique coral hot-spot powers a little-known but richly diverse marine ecosystem which holds more than 5,000 species in its waters including 262 known to be endangered. Several new and previously unrecorded species have been recently found, and scientists believe there could be more yet to be discovered.     It’s on Okinawa that the United States government has maintained military bases since WWII, and now has its sights set on the waters of Henoko-Ōura Bay, also on the island.…
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Investigation for Conservation

By: Sebastian Nicholls, Colombian Ocean Advocate and Mission Blue Volunteer Spanish version below. On deck, there was suddenly a frenzy of work. Pole spears, appendages for taking tissue samples, satellite tags and acoustic tags covered the tables where we had just eaten our breakfast. The scientists on board the Ferox boat–named after one of the species of shark found in the area, the smalltooth sand tiger shark or Odontapsis Ferox–were getting ready to roll.      Mission Blue organized an expedition to Malpelo Island, a Mission Blue Hope Spot, along with partners including the Malpelo Foundation, Conservation International Colombia, and Migramar. One of the goals of the trip was to study sharks and fish that use the area, to improve their conservation. …
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Colombia’s Ocean: a Paradise Worth Protecting

By: Sebastian Nicholls, Colombian Ocean Advocate and Mission Blue Volunteer Spanish version is included below.       e   Colombia is an ocean country– its marine jurisdiction is 40% of its total surface extension. Its ocean area branches out from islands in its possession– Malpelo in the Pacific and San Andres and Providencia in the Caribbean carve out longer branches of marine jurisdiction than it would have without them. Like most countries though, Colombia isn’t doing so well by its ocean. Sustainable Development Goal 14 includes targets for 10% of marine areas protected by 2020 and sustainably managing and protecting marine areas by the same deadline.     Depending on what you measure, Colombia is close to those targets or very far.…
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An Island of Hope for the Ocean’s Future

By: Sebastian Nicholls, Colombian Ocean Advocate and Mission Blue Volunteer Spanish version is included below. “We are in the port of Buenaventura, on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, and we are ready to go to Malpelo,” Sandra Bessudo tells us, as the crew readies the ship to depart. “36 hours and we’ll be there.”      Sandra is the Hope Spot Champion for Malpelo, the island we were getting ready to explore. She led efforts to protect the waters around Malpelo Island, which harbors amazing reef and open-ocean ecosystems chock-full of life. Through her tireless efforts, Malpelo became a Mission Blue Hope Spot in 2016.         Sandra founded the Malpelo and Other Marine Ecosystems Foundation, Mission Blue’s science partner for our expedition to the site, twenty years ago.…
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Continental Shelf off Georgia’s Coast Celebrated as New Hope Spot and State’s “Blue Heart”

Continental shelves make up just 8% of the ocean’s geology, yet play an immensely important role in its health: the shallow waters of a continental shelf absorb more sunlight than the rest of the ocean, allowing for a rich and healthy marine ecosystem to thrive. The shelf hugging the state of Georgia including the Blake Plateau is wider than any other area along the Atlantic Coast (more than 80 miles wide), making it a critical engine for ocean productivity in the Western Atlantic. Part of what makes the Georgia continental shelf through the Blake Plateau so special is that these waters are home to endangered species like the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) and white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)– life that local marine conservationists want the rest of the state to recognize and value.…
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