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Ideas Abound at Mission Blue’s First Annual Shark Conference in La Paz, 2017

by Madison Adams, Mission BlueIn partnership with PEW and Palagios Kakunja, Mission Blue has just concluded its first annual Shark Conference in Baja California Sur. The conference included speakers such as Dr. James Ketchum of Pelagios Kakunjá who works with the shark populations in the Gulf of California to Juan Cuevas who represented shark fisherman in the area. The intention was to begin an open, respectful discussion between scientists, conservationists, tourism operators, fisherman and other stakeholders over the concerns regarding sharks and rays in the Gulf of California. After each day of inspiring speakers, the speakers and guests of the conference were randomly put into focus groups with questions such as, How do we protect sharks in no-take zones, MPA’s, and swim-ways? …
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Dr. Sylvia Earle Convenes Mission Blue Marine Conservation Gathering on Petit St. Vincent

Legendary ocean explorer and marine conservationist Sylvia Earle convened a meeting of Mission Blue’s Board of Directors and supporters on the private island of Petit St. Vincent in the Grenadines, Nov. 4-8, 2017. Co-Hosted by the Philip Stephenson Foundation, the gathering focused on solutions for the protection and restoration of marine environments, centered around the Hope Spots program launched by Mission Blue.The attendees included high level representatives from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), alongside foundations, entrepreneurs, consultants and NGOs that are engaged in marine conservation projects and support Mission Blue. Over three days the participants reaffirmed their commitment to safeguarding the blue heart of the planet by achieving a target of 30 percent of oceans fully protected by 2030 and by using Hope Spots as a catalyst for no-take marine protected areas around the world.…
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Gulf of California Shark Conference 2017

La Paz • Baja California Sur October 26-27, 2017 BY INVITATION  Many of us ask, “What can I, as one person, do?” But, history shows us that everything good and bad starts because somebody does something or does not do something. – Dr. Sylvia Earle Mission Blue is uniting a conference of organizations and individuals motivated to discuss approaches to curbing the overfishing of sharks in the Eastern Pacific and Gulf of California. The conference, which is co-organized by Mission Blue and Pelagios Kakunjá and partially sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, will take place at the Hotel Catedral in La Paz on October 26th and 27th, 2017. The goal of the conference is to raise awareness among decision makers at local and federal levels about the ecological importance of the Revillagigedo Islands, the Gulf of California, and the migratory corridors that link shark species—especially as they pertain to threatened shark populations, such as the endangered scalloped hammerhead shark.…
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Mission Blue Names Newest Hope Spot off Lesbos Island in Greece

Lesbos is an historical Greek Island, home to important ancient personalities like poet Sappho, a way-station between the Aegean and Black Seas, as well as a modern crossroad used by migratory birds and a focal point of the European humanitarian crisis. On the north coast of Lesbos in the waters off the village of Petra, lies a marine area called Avlaki that boasts magnificent assemblages of aquatic birds, marine mammals and vibrant reefs in an impressive volcanic environment. As in most of the Aegean, fishing and other human impacts over the centuries have degraded the marine environment. Yet, the area still shimmers with life and attracts eco-tourists from around the globe. In concert with the Our Ocean Conference gathering happening now in nearby Malta, Mission Blue is thrilled to announce our newest Hope Spot at Avlaki, Lesbos Island, Greece!…
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Coral is an Animal: Weaving the Threads of Art and Science

By: Sasha Solis Sikaffy, Diverse Divers ProductionAnima mundi –the amazing interconnectivity of life on earth- was the inspiration for Diverse Divers. The catalyst was coral, the giver of life and fertility of the oceans. For photosynthetic coral, the experience of sunlight is the encounter with the ultimate reality; light is connected with the beginning and the end. This relation conveys the same cosmic reality as the human’s quest to reach the light and attain the centre.  Such splendor of enlightenment is the stuff of life that combines the cold blue light of the intellect with the emotional warmth of the earthly sun. Diverse Divers is the bringer of power through art: the tool of tools to excite, express and wonder.…
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Tuna Fishing is Threatening the Pristine Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia

This just in from our partners at The Pew Charitable TrustsMarquesas people have worked for about 10 years on a large MPA project in their waters, with a 100,000km² sustainable fishing area for local boats (less than 12 meters) around the islands and at least 200,000km² strict protection offshore (out of the 700,000km² of Marquesas waters). After several commitments at the international level, the government of French Polynesia stepped back on this project last year. And earlier this year, local investors announced the future acquisition of 100 tuna boats to fish in Marquesas, targeting big eye tuna (already threatened with an 84% biomass loss). Local investors are presumably helped by Chinese investors. They also receive a 70% of public subsidy from the local government for the construction of the boats (already 5 boats financed this year with a 8 million USD public support).…
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What do you get when passion and private enterprise collide? A story of love, hope and the world’s richest reefs

The Mission Blue Council has just named the Misool Marine Reserve in South Raja Ampat, Indonesia as a Mission Blue Hope Spot. Misool is a shining beacon of hope inside the Coral Triangle, the most biodiverse marine ecosystem in the world. Here’s Misool’s story about how conservation and tourism can be the perfect marriage… Back in 2005, when Raja Ampat was visited only by a handful of daring divers aboard their pirate-esque Phinisi schooners, Marit Miners and her future husband Andrew spent their third date, which lasted nearly a month, diving Misool’s undiscovered reefs. They explored the region’s maze of karst outcroppings and rugged islets.  During a surface interval between dives, the pair stumbled upon a secret beach which was home to an itinerant shark finning camp, clearly contributing to the estimated 100 million sharks killed each year to supply the shark fin soup trade.…
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Turning the Tide on Plastics in the Mediterranean

by Courtney MattisonAt first glance, the cove of Cala Figuera in Mallorca’s Bay of Palma looks like a Mediterranean paradise, with sun-kissed boulders tumbling into glittering turquoise water. Take a closer look at its beach, however, and you will discover that instead of sand, it is comprised of heaps of plastic. Snarls of Posidonia seagrass tangle with plastic straws, fishing line, drink cups and syringes. Thousands of tiny plastic sticks from cotton swabs and lollipops are strewn like confetti across the beach. Dig into the top layer of sun-bleached plastic rubble and you will discover a rainbow of bottle caps, toys, tile spacers, cigarette butts and microplastics at least a meter thick. “We’ve actually come on a good day and the sea is relatively clean,” said Brad Robertson, Founder and President of Asociación Ondine, a nonprofit ocean conservation organization based in Mallorca, Spain.…
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Destacada oceanógrafa Sylvia Earle bucea en la Reserva Nacional Pingüino de Humboldt y llama a las autoridades a protegerla

This content La bióloga marina y reconocida conservacionista, Sylvia Earle buceó en las aguas de la Reserva Nacional Pingüino de Humboldt aprovechando su asistencia al Cuarto Congreso Internacional de Áreas Marinas Protegidas, IMPAC4, que se realiza en Coquimbo. En la visita, Earle compartió con buzos locales, quienes le mostraron las maravillas naturales de uno de los lugares más ricos del mundo en términos de biodiversidad. ©CÉSAR VILLARROEL “Quisimos invitar a Sylvia para mostrarle la importancia de preservar este lugar y compartir con ella el trabajo que hemos realizado para protegerlo”, señaló César Villarroel, documentalitsta y capitán del Centro de Buceo Explorasub, organizador de la visita de Earle. “Nuestra meta es impulsar el turismo sustentable, aprovechando que este lugar es un laboratorio natural de interés tanto para científicos como para el público en general y que se amplien las zonas de protección para todas las islas del Archipielago Humboldt”, añadió.…
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Citizen Scientists Nurture the Moreton Bay Hope Spot

The power of the people that helped to secure Hope Spot designation for Moreton Bay Marine Park in 2016 continues to build on that strong stewardship legacy. In 2017, citizen scientists have been collecting important information on the habitats and wildlife across beautiful Moreton Bay/Quandamooka including topics from mangroves to manta rays. These efforts complement the knowledge and care provided for tens of thousands of years by the traditional owners of the region, and is increasingly important with the rapidly growing population in this unique region. UniDive Citizen Scientist trained in Reef check and Coral Watch survey techniques just returned from another successful survey at Flinders Reef. “Citizen scientists provide not only data, but hope. The commitment to collecting high-quality information to help care for this unique place and its wildlife demonstrates how the community can play a truly important and influential role in science-based stewardship,” said Jennifer Loder, Reef Check Australia.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle