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Newly Declared Wotho Atoll Hope Spot in Marshall Islands Championed by Minister of Education and High School Biology Teacher

Header image: Kudo Kabua
WOTHO ATOLL, MARSHALL ISLANDS (September 14th, 2021)

In the middle of the central Pacific Ocean lies the Wotho Atoll, a string of 13 islands in the Republic of Marshall Islands. Beyond its idyllic coastal breeze, Wotho is known locally for its beautiful beaches, turtle nesting sites, extensive bird populations and colorful corals. The atoll is also very remote – as one of the least inhabited of the Marshall Islands, Wotho is home to just 90 Marshallese.
 
 
Wotho Atoll has been declared a Hope Spot by international marine conservation nonprofit Mission Blue. Kitlang Kabua, Minister of Education of the Marshall Islands and Matthew Gerber, local high school biology teacher, are the Hope Spot Champions and have received approval from the King and Land Owner to dedicate the entire atoll for protection and conservation. …

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Young Marine Conservationist Champions the Fish Rock Hope Spot in New South Wales to Protect Critically Endangered Grey Nurse Sharks

Header image: Justin Gilligan
SOUTH WEST ROCKS, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA (AUGUST 24TH,  2021)

A five hour drive north of Sydney, New South Wales, is South West Rocks, a coastal town that just 5,000 people call home. Below the surface of its sandy beaches and picturesque pine trees is a 125-meter long underwater tunnel with its own unique ecosystem that supports a habitat for the critically endangered grey nurse shark. Local SCUBA diver and ocean conservationist Shalise Leesfield has a goal to establish a 1500m radius marine protected area at Fish Rock to protect these sharks and hundreds of other marine species that call the underwater tunnel home. Leesfield hopes that the recognition of the Fish Rock Hope Spot will bring to light the condition of Australia’s Grey Nurse shark population and the lack of support awarded to their recovery.…

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Behind the Scenes: The Azores Hope Spot Summit

Header image by Nuno Sá
By: Shannon Rake, Hope Spots Program Manager

My name is Shannon Rake and I am the Hope Spots Program Manager for Mission Blue. As many readers of this blog will already know, Hope Spots are special places in the ocean where Mission Blue works with local champions to promote the creation and enforcement of marine protected areas. The Azores is one such Hope Spot and that’s where this story starts, as we arrived there to meet the local champions and get an update on their conservation efforts. The trip would turn out to be unforgettable with the President of the Azores announcing an expansion of the Azorean marine protected area, as well as the opportunity to witness first-hand the cutting edge of local marine science efforts.…

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Mission Blue Join Forces with ECO Magazine to Publish Special Issue on Marine Pollution

ECO Magazine and Mission Blue will publish a special digital issue that features the most recent scientific knowledge and solutions to address one of the biggest threats to our ocean: human-made pollution.
The growing problem of marine pollution touches all corners of the planet. While plastic dominates the media, human activities result in a complex mixture of substances and materials entering the ocean, including oil spills, chemicals, nutrients, pesticides and marine litter.
Laura Cassiani, Executive Director of Mission Blue says, “We are delighted to partner with ECO Magazine on this special issue focusing on marine pollution. Pollution in the ocean is a pervasive problem, especially plastics that have flooded the world’s shorelines and marine ecosystems. We’re looking forward to joining ECO Magazine to promote practical solutions and highlight efforts to reduce plastics in the ocean.” …

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New Champions of the Quirimbas Archipelago Hope Spot Celebrate with Plans to Expand Local Marine Protected Area

QUIRIMBAS ISLANDS, MOZAMBIQUE, JULY 22nd, 2021

The 34 islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago span nearly 300 kilometers of coastline from the Tanzania-Mozambique border in the north to Pemba Bay in the south. Among the archipelagos’ greatest treasures are the deep submarine canyons that run between many of its islands where cool water upwellings support the highest coral species diversity documented outside of the Coral Triangle. The islands’ unique blend of environmental and social drivers establishes it as one of the most diverse, productive, and intact marine ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean, which has led to its recent recognition as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Key Biodiversity Area.
 
 
Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, considers the Quirimbas Islands as a “shining beacon of hope on the African Coastline” and designated the archipelago as one of the first Mission Blue Hope Spots in 2013.…

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Tiger Shark Makes Historic Journey From the Galápagos Marine Reserve to Cocos Island National Park

Discovery highlights need to create a marine “superhighway” connecting the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
JUNE 21, 2021 –
Scientists uncovered a new example of migratory movements between Galapagos Marine Reserve and Cocos Island National Park on a research trip this year, supporting global efforts to improve the conservation of migratory marine species. The research trip was supported by philanthropist and ocean advocate, Dona Bertarelli, and her family. The discovery is featured in a film by Sails of Change & Only One Collective which urges viewers to sign a petition calling on the governments of Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Panama to establish the world’s first multinational network of marine protected areas.
A female tiger shark – tagged on an expedition led by non-profit organization OCEARCHwith MigraMar, Galapagos National Park Directorate and Charles Darwin Foundationscientists in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands seven years ago – surfaced at Costa Rica’sCocos Island in February, almost 700 kilometers to the northwest.…

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Internationally Renowned Oceanographer and TIME Magazine’s First Hero Of The Planet – Dr. Sylvia A. Earle Publishes New Book Showcasing The Power and Significance Of Our Planet’s Ocean

National Geographic’s Explorer At Large and internationally renowned oceanographer, Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, is releasing her highly anticipated forthcoming book, National Geographic Ocean: A Global Odyssey (National Geographic; Now Available For Pre-Order; On-Sale Nov 16, 2021, $65, ISBN 9781426221927), showcasing how the ocean – with its forces, habitats, creatures, and global influence–has a tremendous impact on our everyday lives.
Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, President & Chairman of Mission Blue/The Sylvia Earle Alliance–affectionately called “Her Deepness”, a phrase coined by The New Yorker–guides readers with her lyrical style and inspiring wisdom, describing the evolution, beauty, and impact of our ocean, the challenges it faces, such as climate change, plastic, and overfishing, and the myriad ways we can help protect it. With a special focus on new discoveries in the deepest reaches of the ocean, Dr.…

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Gathered Foods, Makers of Good Catch® Plant-Based Seafood, Joins Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue Nonprofit in New Initiative to Help Preserve Key Ocean Ecosystems

Plant-based seafood leader to support Mission Blue with ongoing sponsorship and consumer call to action to help shift the decline of marine wildlife.
 
Austin, TX (June 8, 2021) – In honor of World Ocean Day, Gathered Foods, makers of Good Catch® plant-based seafood, today announced a new partnership with Mission Blue, an organization led by oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, that inspires action to explore and protect our ocean. With a common goal of protecting the world’s waters, Good Catch will become a corporate sponsor of Mission Blue to bring awareness and support for ocean conservation to the forefront. Together, Good Catch and Mission Blue will be initiating consumer campaigns to call for greater protection of Mission Blue Hope Spots, which are designated conservation areas protected by Mission Blue programs and government partnerships.…

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Panama Achieves 30×30 Ocean Protection Goals in Newly Expanded Cordillera de Coiba Marine Protected Area

Header image by Max Bello.
Spanish translation can be read at the bottom of the page.
PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (June 8th, 2021) –
On June 8th, 2021, Laurentino Cortizo, President of Panama and Milciades Concepción, Minister of Environment signed the decree that protects the Coiba Ridge, a move that will triple the Cordillera de Coiba marine protected area. With this act, Panama is set to be ahead of the 30% by 2030 goals (30×30) and become a true Blue Leader – a country that officially “highly and fully” protects 30% or more of its oceans. Panama will finalize the management plan to address the regulation of the new expanded MPA by the fall. 
 

 
Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, says, “Congratulations to President Laurentino Cortizo and the country of Panama for protecting this special part of the blue planet.…

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Cocos Island Hope Spot Champion Randall Arauz Pushes for Improved Marine Protections

Header photo by Cristian Dimitrius
Traducción al español al final.
COCOS ISLAND, COSTA RICA (May 27th, 2021)
Costa Rica has long been recognized around the world for its conservation efforts to protect its wildlife both on land and under the sea. Scientists estimate that approximately 5% of the world’s biodiversity is nestled in the country’s dense rainforests and beneath the surface of its 581,725 km2 exclusive economic zone (EEZ). However, a closer look reveals that out of Costa Rica’s 20 marine protected areas (MPAs), very few provide tangible protection for marine species. In fact, the vast majority are Multiple Use Marine Areas (MUMA), which are under-patrolled and allow for destructive fishing practices that damage the environment and have led to the further depletion of marine species that are vital to the continuance of sustainable food sources.…

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