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Mission Blue Welcomes Dona Bertarelli to its Board of Directors

(Image © Julius Schlosburg)
Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue unites a global coalition to inspire support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots, with the goal of reaching at least 30% ocean protection by 2030. Today, we are delighted to welcome philanthropist, ocean advocate and sportswoman, Dona Bertarelli to our board of directors and to the Mission Blue family.
Ms. Bertarelli is a world-renowned expert in ocean conservation who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to ocean stewardship from a variety of perspectives. She is co-chair of the Bertarelli Foundation, and joined forces with the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2017, continuing their long-term collaboration and forming a new partnership, Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project, to advance ocean protection, perfectly aligning with the goals of Mission Blue. …

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Costa Rica Adds Nearly 53,000 sq km of Protected Waters to the Cocos Island National Park

On Friday, December 17th, 2021, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, and Andrea Meza, Minister of Environment and Energy, signed a decree expanding the Cocos Island National Park, which lies at the heart of the Cocos Island Hope Spot. This move adds approximately 53,000 sq km (21,235 sq miles) of fully protected waters to Costa Rica’s territory in the Pacific Ocean, making the total size approximately 55,000 sq km. 
 
 
This area of the Eastern Tropical Pacific hosts myriad endangered or threatened marine species like the scalloped hammerhead, which, like many other animals, uses the waters between Cocos Island and the Galápagos Islands as a migratory “swimway.” Marine animals, much like terrestrial animals, do not stay in one place.…

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Hope in the Conflict Islands

Photo: Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative
By Hayley Versace, General Manager, Conflict Islands Resort and Conflict Islands Hope Spot Champion

The Conflict Islands are one of just two Hope Spots in Papua New Guinea. The Conflict Islands are a privately owned atoll 22 kms by 14 kms wide in the center of a richly biodiverse marine ecosystem. This atoll is connected to several other Hope Spots in the region through the many migratory species that mate, raise their young and feed in these waters.
 
 
The conservation work by Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative (CICI), an Australian not-for-profit, has evolved thanks to our growing network of partners and supporters from all over the world, stemming from the support we have had from Mission Blue and Dr.…

Posted in .Homepage, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Featured, mission blue, Partner Stories, Photo of the Day, sylvia earle, Uncategorized |

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Laamafaru Festival 2021 Celebrates Ocean Conservation at Laamu Atoll Hope Spot

By Leanna Crowley, Marketing Communications Manager, Six Senses Laamu Resort

Since 2016, the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) by Six Senses Laamu has organized a community festival in Laamu Atoll with the aim of raising awareness of and increasing protection for sea turtles. The Laamu Turtle Festival brought people from across the atoll together to pledge ‘Turtles in Laamu – Safe and Protected’. In 2019, MUI recognized the growing need to raise awareness about the conservation of entire marine ecosystems and the services they provide, in order to safeguard the Maldives from the negative effects of climate change or unsustainable practices. That is why, in 2019, the resort and local stakeholders in Laamu Atoll voted to broaden the scope of the 4th annual festival to Laamafaru Festival, or ‘Laamu’s Reefs Festival’ in Dhivehi, under the theme ‘Our Ocean – Safe and Protected’.…

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From Hope Spot to Marine Protected Area: A Conservation Win for Western Australia

Photo: Jason Dickie, Oceanwise Australia

WESTERN AUSTRALIA (December 3rd, 2021)
Beginning with his work in the Ningaloo Reef in 1998, Dr. Ben Fitzpatrick of Oceanwise Australia has contributed to research, management, and conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems for more than two decades. As the Champion of the Exmouth Gulf and Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area Hope Spot established in 2019, he and his team have helped shift the local momentum from industrialization to protection for Exmouth Gulf and the surrounding area.
Today the Government of Western Australia has announced a commitment to implement a spatial management plan for a new Marine Park in the area in congruence with the Plan for Our Parks policy. According to the official government release, “A new marine park will be established for the eastern and southern parts of the [Exmouth] Gulf, and Class A reserves will be gazetted for local areas of significance such as Qualing Pool, Camerons Cave and the Gulf’s islands.”…

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New Hope Spot Designated in the Eastern Pacific Ocean Celebrates New Marine Conservation Center and Highlights Need for MPA

Header image: Carlos Mallo
OSA PENINSULA, COSTA RICA (December 2nd, 2021)

Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula is one of the most visited places in the country and is well-loved among naturalists and photographers. National Geographic has described this marine ecosystem as “the most biologically intense place on Earth”. Costa Rica’s waters here are traversed by creatures like humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran), sea turtles (Chelonioidea) and rays (Mobula birostris). This marine corridor encompasses a diverse cluster of ecosystems that are all essential for the survival of marine life, including the coral reefs of Caño Island and one of the largest wetlands of the Pacific coast of Central America. Unfortunately, it is also a place that has felt the impacts of industrial fishing – problems that could be mitigated through an expanded marine protected area (MPA) that encompasses the existing MPAs in the area.…

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Announcing the 2022 Ocean Lovers Festival at the Sydney Coast Hope Spot

By Noah Ritchie
2019 marked the congruent launch of the Sydney Coast Hope Spot and Ocean Lovers Festival in New South Wales, Australia. The festival is a 4-day event that includes live entertainment, art, technology, science, and other avenues to show the myriad ways ocean lovers can make a difference. Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restricted the festival in 2020 and postponed their expected return this fall, the festival is looking to make an exuberant comeback this coming March of 2022!
What is Ocean Lovers Festival and how did it start?
Festival founder Anita Kolni says this idea started with her considering “how to come up with a way to share hope and solutions for the ocean in a time where people feel a lot of despair.”…

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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.…

Posted in .Homepage, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Featured, mission blue, Partner Stories, Photo of the Day, Uncategorized |

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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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