Blog Archives

A Discussion with Dr. Emma Camp, Coral Conservationist and 2019 ROLEX Awards for Enterprise Associate Laureate

  Emma testing out the Flexi-Chamber she designed to measure rates of photosynthesis on coral reefs.   Dr. Emma Camp is an Australian marine biologist on an audacious mission– she’s working to conserve corals in the Great Barrier Reef and ultimately across the globe that are rapidly declining under climate change. Dr. Camp championed a groundbreaking discovery: there are specific species of “Super Corals” that are able to survive in the extreme conditions brought on by global climate change: warm, acidic waters with insufficient oxygen levels. This discovery provides Emma a unique opportunity to uncover what supports coral survival into extremes, and along with her colleagues, she hopes to use this knowledge to aid rehabilitation efforts of the world’s coral reefs.…
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Dr. Earle at the California Seamounts Hope Spot Launch in San Francisco

On May 14th, 2019, the Mission Blue team and the ocean conservation community gathered at the San Francisco Exploratorium to celebrate the launch of the California Seamounts Hope Spot. Dr. Sylvia Earle closed out the evening with her thoughts on protecting the California seamounts from exploitation and of the global state of ocean conservation.     “Thank you – all of you — for coming from where you came from to be here to salute the ocean and salute the cause for hope. I’m looking at the cause for hope right now: you’re here, and you care. We’re all at this amazing point in history – early in the 21st century — we’re armed with that most important thing called knowledge. …
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First Ever Hope Spot in mainland United Kingdom Declared Along Scotland’s Argyll Coast and Islands

ARGYLL COAST, SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM The strikingly diverse landscape of the West coast of Scotland is one of a storybook come to life. Imagine idyllic, rolling green hills, cut with streams of clear water carving a path over rocks blanketed in tufts of spongy moss. Weathered stone castles stand like sentries along the dramatic coast, piercing a delicate veil of grey fog. Jagged rocks along the coast loom above placid, white sand beaches meeting crystalline blue waters. Plunging beneath the surface, shipwrecks lie preserved, their presence a reminder of the inextricable link between the sea and our maritime heritage, spanning four hundred years from the Spanish Armada to WW2 losses, these sites, many of which have become artificial reefs full of marine life, are windows into the past and enable us to discover the stories of seafarers, trade and conflict.…
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Ocean Organizations Designate Seamounts off California Coast as Newest Hope Spots in Worldwide System

CALIFORNIA COAST, UNITED STATES (May 14, 2019) – Deep below the ocean’s surface, not far from the beautiful beaches of the California coast, where millions sunbathe, surf, and enjoy the majesty and tranquility of the sea, lies a world of underwater mountains, volcanoes and ancient islands called seamounts. These seamounts provide a home to biologically important treasures critical to the health of the ocean. Although virtually unknown to the Golden State’s nearly 40 million residents, the seamounts are home to creatures like the endangered blue and gray whales and sperm whales, sharks, rare deep‐sea corals that take hundreds of years to grow, and seabirds hunting high overhead for fish that aggregate near the seamounts. Unfortunately, the dozens of vibrant seamounts along California’s coast and across the globe face a risky future due to potential deepsea trawling, ocean warming and acidification, offshore drilling, and the rise of deep-sea mining, a practice that extracts minerals from the seamounts and seabed.…
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Datan Algal Reef in Taiwan is Declared a Hope Spot in Support of Saving a Unique Ecosystem from Industrialization

TAOYUAN, TAIWAN, (March 19, 2019) The northwestern coast of Taiwan holds a mysterious reef that remains a secret from much of the world – including local residents. Hidden in plain sight during the day, this prolific reef comes to life at dusk with thousands of fish, crabs and macroinvertebrates rising to the water’s surface. This particular reef’s one-of-a-kind endemic species population, topography and ecosystem exist nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, much of this exquisite algal reef has suffered destruction from industrial development and pollution throughout the last 50 years, and the remaining healthy area of the reef is under threat from a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving port project. However, local community-based groups, NGOs and researchers are determined to convince the Taiwanese government to officially protect this unique reef and are working to preserve their cultural and fishing heritage, protect the living environment and develop a sustainable eco-tourism and hospitality industry to sustain the local economy.…
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Mission Blue Works to Highlight Shark Conservation

Over the last few years, Mission Blue has been active in different parts of the world, specifically in the Gulf of California Hope Spot and the Eastern Pacific Seascape Hope Spot working with local partners to document and address two of the most damaging human impacts on shark population: finning and overfishing. We have highlighted the work of local science teams, such as Pelagios Kakunja, that are using radio telemetry to track shark populations to better understand their migratory corridors. At Cocos Island, in the Eastern Pacific Seascape Hope Spot, we met with a local shark conservationist to learn and share information about shark finning in Costa Rica. We also highlighted the ocean conservation efforts to change policy in Costa Rica and on the international stage to better protect these highly migratory animals. …
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All Hands on Deck: Protecting Biodiversity in Palau

On a single dive day in Palau, lucky divers can witness an impressive range of ocean wildlife like manta rays, sea turtles, humphead parrotfish, humphead wrasse, dugong and saltwater crocodiles to list a few. And then, of course, there are myriad colorful fish, small and large, flickering across the technicolor canvases that are the coral reefs. As the Expedition Team dried off after a dive near German Channel, Dr. Sylvia Earle was asked what was her favorite creature seen on the dive. “Humans are my favorite sea creature,” she responded with a wink. And it’s true: we are as much dependent on the sea as the dolphins and diatoms. Without the sea, there is no life. No blue, no green. No ocean, no us.…
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Declaration of Cuba’s Guanahacabibes National Park- Maria La Gorda Hope Spot Ignited by Community Conservation Efforts

GUANAHACABIBES NATIONAL PARK, CUBA, (December 5, 2018) – Throughout the last 25 years, the western tip of Cuba known as the Guanahacabibes National Park has seen a tremendous community effort between residents, marine biologists and the Cuban government to preserve its coral reefs and green sea turtle population. What was considered to be a dire situation stemming from overfishing and green sea turtle consumption in the 1990’s transformed into a phenomenal story of success. International non-profit Mission Blue has declared the Guanahacabibes National Park, encompassing the Maria La Gorda area, a Hope Spot to shine a spotlight on the exquisite health of the area, to educate the next generation of locals and international visitors on how to symbiotically care for its ecology, and to highlight the incredible change that can be accomplished with international collaboration.…
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New Zealand’s Coastal Waters Declared a Hope Spot to Protect the World’s Last Remaining Māui Dolphins

THE NEW ZEALAND COAST, (November 26, 2018) – The sparkling ocean waves that hug New Zealand’s coasts hold spectacles of outstanding natural beauty that can be found both above and below the water. Ranging from subtropical in the north to sub-Antarctic in the south, these rich and complex waters are home to a vast collection of rare marine species, many of which call New Zealand their only home on Earth. Two dolphins in particular have drawn immense international attention for their unique grey, black and white color patterns and delightfully friendly demeanor – the Hector’s and Māui dolphins.  These magnificent dolphins are the only two cetacean species endemic to New Zealand, and scientists have watched their numbers decline sharply over the last several decades; the Hector’s dolphin has faced a decline of more than 70% the original population size reported in the 1970’s with 10,000, and the Māui dolphin has suffered a particularly devastating fate with just 50 individuals remaining.…
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The Blue Ocean President

  Palau’s Head of State (Pictured Above Diving with Dr. Sylvia Earle) Visits the Mission Blue Hope Spot Expedition GERMAN CHANNEL, PALAU — For President Thomas Remengesau Jr., or “Tommy” as his dive buddies call him, ocean conservation is all about science, technology, political will and good policy. Indeed, protecting the ocean has defined his tenure as the leader of this pacific island nation of 22,000 people. Palau is small in terms of landmass, fitting seven times over into the state of Rhode Island. However, as both scuba divers and sharks know, there’s more to the story. In terms of ocean area, Palau has an exclusive economic zone – a fancy way of saying its sovereign waters – the size of the Ukraine.…
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