Blog Archives

A Conversation with a Shark Fisherman

Kip Evans: Tell me about yourself and what you do for a living. Juan Lucas: My name is Juan Pablo Lucas and I’m a fisherman based out of Puerto San Carlos. I also live here, in La Paz, Baja California. I’ve been a fisherman my whole life. We were raised here when my mom and my dad took us over. During our childhood, we built small wooden or cork barges. We made small nets. We worked with basically what we saw around, you know? We did it because our parents did that…they made nets and fished. That was my life and I’ve been fishing ever since. We used to go for anything we could get, but now we have rules. We’re constantly trying to learn everything that’s going on in the protected areas.…
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2nd Annual Shark Conference Grows Support for MPAs in Gulf of California

Mission Blue Expeditions Team, led by Kip Evans, travelled to the Gulf of California Hope Spot last month and continued its multi-year work of supporting shark conservation in the region through documentary video and community engagement in partnership with Pelagios Kakunja. This La Paz-based non-profit is led by Dr. James Ketchum and is at the vanguard of shark telemetry and a strong advocate for enhanced protection of sharks in the region. The Expeditions Team was joined by Andrea Asunsola, a marine biologist based out of Baja California Sur and Pelagios Kakunja alumna, who helped create local connections, interview shark fishermen and generally support the conservation goals of the expedition. Over the course of the expedition, which is part of a shark conservation grant generously bestowed by the Marisla Foundation, Mission Blue visited rural communities in Baja California Sur in order to document and better understand the lives of shark fishermen, the economics of shark fishing and viable strategies for transitioning away from these extractive activities. …
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Hope Spot Declared at Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica in Support of Nursery for Endangered Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks

There aren’t many creatures on Earth that offer a remarkable resemblance to the mythical beings we imagined from our childhood storybooks. The endangered scalloped hammerhead shark, with its famous laterally shaped head carrying eyeballs on either side, is perhaps one of these mysterious manifestations that awe those of us on land. Unfortunately, the scalloped hammerheads are endangered, due to overfishing in Golfo Dulce. Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica is an exceptional ecosystem that hosts a nursery for the scalloped hammerhead shark, with thousands of baby sharks born there every year. Recent research suggests evidence of a biological connection between the scalloped hammerheads in critical coastal habitats and the surrounding waters of Cocos Island, making the gulf, one of only four tropical fjords in the world, a crucial area to protect.…
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The Widening Gyre: A Plastic Activist’s Story

By: Stiv Wilson, Campaigns Director, The Story of Stuff Project, Executive Producer and Creator, The Story of Plastic Follow Stiv on Twitter & Instagram: @agentstiv It started on a beach in Oregon, after a surf. Here, you can see no human-made objects on land. But amidst this natural wonderland that is Pacific Northwest beaches, there was something out of place. Something not quite right. I had never really been an environmentalist exactly; I was more geared towards the arts and writing. And that’s why it hit. Plastic: this material so universal we hardly even notice that it surrounds every part of our lives. But here, on a beach against a primaeval wood and boundless ocean, plastic was out of place. It was the aesthetic incongruity to the natural order that hit me– and it was a gut punch.…
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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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Tavarua Island Hope Spot Announced in Support of Establishing a Marine Protected Area

Tavarua Island, Fiji, (November 13th, 2018) – The famous Fijian island known for its unique heart shape, lush flora and world-famous surfing has been passionately and meticulously cared for by residents, local communities (natives), and visitors alike, in an effort to preserve and rehabilitate its reef ecosystem. Throughout the last six years, the island has culturally— but not officially— upheld a “Tabu”, an absolute ban on fishing in the reef system surrounding the island put in place by native villages that own the fishing rights to the reefs. The people of Tavarua Island are hoping to officially obtain protections to preserve its unique habitats, species, and ecological processes by establishing the island as a Marine Protected Area. International non-profit Mission Blue has declared Tavarua Island a Hope Spot in support of the Fijian Government’s goals of protecting the reef systems, and allowing for the continuance of successful coral reef ecotourism and research for generations to come.…
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The Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary of Uruguay Declared a Hope Spot in Support of Cetacean Conservation

THE WHALE AND DOLPHIN SANCTUARY, URUGUAY, (October 28th, 2018) – The deep, blue waters off the southeastern coast of Uruguay are a magnificent sight to behold: more than 30 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises call this area home, and are a wonder to those lucky enough to witness them gliding through the cresting waves, breaching from the water and blowing their holes. The Uruguayan Sanctuary for Whales and Dolphins is a one-of-a-kind ecosystem that hosts thousands of species from cetaceans to seals, sea lions, fish and seabirds, several of which are critically endangered. The Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary of Uruguay has been declared a Hope Spot by international nonprofit Mission Blue in recognition of its value as a safe haven for cetaceans, to establish an enforceable policy to thoroughly manage and protect the sanctuary and to educate the public about the negative effects of “ocean noise” on marine life created by oil drilling, shipping and seismic testing.…
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