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Grand Cayman Port Controversy

In 2016, George Town Harbor was designated by Mission Blue as a Hope Spot. Mission Blue and the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) define Hope Spots as “areas in the ocean recognized by scientists for having unique ecological attributes that make them especially deserving of designation as marine protected areas.” These areas that are privileged enough to be recognized have qualities of ecological, biological, aesthetic, or socioeconomic significance. Hope Spots were created to “encourage people to take responsibility and ownership of their environment” and now for the first time, the people of the Cayman Islands could have a direct say in the fate of their marine environment and the fate of George Town Harbor through a referendum. If you live in the Caymans, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) encourages you to take responsibility for your ocean and stand up for what is right with your vote. …
Posted in .Homepage, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Featured, Hope Spot, mission blue, Uncategorized |

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Declaration of Alborán Sea Hope Spot Coincides with Intercontinental Conservation Efforts

ALBORÁN SEA, (September 13th, 2018) – International non-profit Mission Blue has declared the Alborán Sea a Hope Spot, coinciding with the upcoming meeting between IUCN (Intercontinental Union for Conservation of Nature) Center for Mediterranean Cooperation and the Universities of the Alborán Sea to establish a unified system of regulations to protect the waters and species that inhabit it. The area of coastline that lines the Alborán Sea is of high ecological value with an incredible biodiversity of susceptible and endangered species that are currently on the IUCN Red List and protected species of MAPAMA (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment). The Alborán Sea is home to some of the highest biodiversity in the Mediterranean, including sea birds, turtles, seahorses, bottlenose dolphins, sharks and dwarf sperm whales.…
Posted in .Homepage, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Featured, mission blue, sylvia earle, Uncategorized |

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Bahamas on the Cusp of Making Long Island a Marine Protected Area

LONG ISLAND, BAHAMAS (August 14th, 2018) – Long Island in the Bahamas has been declared a Hope Spot by international non-profit Mission Blue in support of the Bahamian government’s tentative plan to proclaim a marine protected area in the area. Long Island Marine Management Area (LIMMA) has been a source of food, recreation and economy for Long Islanders since the settling of the local communities. Establishment of the 257,000 acre Long Island Marine Management Area would repair and protect the population of marine species important to the local and global economy, such as the endangered Nassau Grouper and the Queen Conch, and would aim to provide a sustainable balance between culture, economics and conservation. “The Long Island Marine Management Area (LIMMA) contains a rich biodiversity of habitat, ranging from mangroves and sea grasses, blue holes to coral reefs and deep water sites; habitat that is critical to the life cycle of the biodiversity of the Long Island fisheries and associated bird and marine species.…
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Beyond Baselines: Exploratory Dives in the Outer Hebrides

By Mae Dorricott Sometimes there comes a point in a dive when you think that you should turn around and go back. There isn’t anything of interest here. But you can’t help but listen to that little voice, “Oh, just one more corner!”. That one more corner led us into a dead end. The rock walls created an underwater cul-de-sac and the kelp bed swayed in the currents below. It was pretty, for sure, but not what we we’re looking for. I turn to my buddy Kirsty, to decide which way we should go next. But as I look round, she’s disappeared. Maybe she headed out already? Before I make a move though, a torch light shines out from a dimly lit corner of the “dead end”.…
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Polar Bears of Svalbard

By Courtney Mattison for Mission Blue For those who have observed polar bears in the wild, the experiences they recall often sound reverential and daring. The world’s largest land predator, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are larger and more carnivorous than grizzlies and hunt both on land and in the sea. But on Mission Blue’s latest Hope Spot Expedition to the Norwegian Arctic, the bears we observed were more threatened than threatening. “So we just came upon a mother and cub and they are very very skinny,” said Mette Eliseussen, Manager and Expedition Leader for Arctic Voyagers at Basecamp Spitsbergen, as she led the Mission Blue Expedition Team aboard an inflatable boat within a safe distance of two polar bears. Kip Evans, Mission Blue Director of Expeditions and Photography and leader of the expedition, focused his camera lens at the bears and began shooting images.…
Posted in .Homepage, Featured, mission blue, Uncategorized |

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Southern Ocean Retrospectives and Perspectives

Maggie Amsler, Department of Biology University of Alabama at Birmingham I recently sailed away from Antarctica on almost the shortest day of the year, plying north through the Southern Ocean to the port city of Punta Arenas, Chile and ultimately flying home to Alabama where I touched down on the longest day (and hottest?!) of the year in Alabama. The four-day transit featured relatively calm seas most of the time, even in the notorious Drake Passage. Island-lifestyle enthusiast Jimmy Buffett would term my relocation a “change in latitude” and as a career polar marine biologist, I have made this drastic hemispheric shift for each of my 27 expeditions to Antarctica. According to my back of the envelope scribbles, I have had the privilege of spending approximately eight years of my life beside, on, in and even above the Southern Ocean.…
Posted in .Homepage, Featured, mission blue |

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Spitsbergen Beneath the Surface

By Courtney Mattison for Mission Blue Imagine rolling backwards off an inflatable boat into icy Arctic waters… on purpose. Enveloped in protective gear, you stay mostly dry as the cold sinks into your body and you descend into the frigid depths below. “The first thing that hits you is just the shock of the cold,” says Dr. Helena Reinardy, Associate Professor of Ecotoxicology at The University Centre Svalbard (UNIS) and member of the Longyearbyen Dive Club. She continues, “You think, I’ve got to get out right now!… But then you very quickly get used to it.” Beneath the waves, you find yourself immersed in planktonic life, including some surprisingly large zooplankton—pulsing golden green jellies the size of marbles, skittering shrimplike amphipods and graceful sea angels (Clione limacina).…
Posted in .Homepage, Featured, mission blue, Partner Stories, Uncategorized |

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Critically Endangered Goliath Groupers, Hope for Sharks and the State of Our Corals

By: Angela Smith, Shark Team One The world spoke and Florida state conservation managers listened regarding the fate of the goliath grouper in Florida waters! The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted on April 26 to save the goliath grouper instead of opening up a potentially devasting fish and kill lottery on these iconic fish. Goliath groupers are critically endangered worldwide so the decision to not allow catch and kill was highly important for their continued recovery in Florida. These fish are classic apex predators, large, rare and only a few individuals occur on any given reef, so they are very important to the ecosystem. Goliath groupers do not have federal endangered species protection status yet, so the issue to catch and kill goliaths could come up again, but for the foreseeable future the fate of the goliath grouper is safe and the Coastal Southeast Florida Hope Spot community was a driving force in their protection.…
Posted in .Homepage, Featured, mission blue, Partner Stories, Uncategorized |

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Ocean Stories: Data from the Twilight Zone

By Mae Dorricott With my face glued to the car window, mouth agape, making “ooos” and “aahhhs”, I kept my colleagues Vaughn and Kayem well amused as they drove myself and Sonia through the stunning scenery of Pohnpei to Nihco Marine Park. This place was to be our base and home for Sonia’s annual expedition to explore the twilight zone of Pohnpei and sister atoll’s reefs. I was invited along on the expedition by Dr. Sonia Rowley, one out of three people to win the David Attenborough Award for field work. She is well deserving of this award as her research in the twilight zone takes her to depths of 140 m, the area of the reef where light begins to dwindle away.…
Posted in .Homepage, Featured, Partner Stories |

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New Report Dives Deep Into the Myeik Archipelago

From our partners at Fauna & Flora International The Myeik Archipelago along Myanmar’s southern coastline harbours hidden secrets including coral reefs teeming with life, abundant mangroves and seagrass beds, and unspoiled beaches. It is home to rare and threatened marine species, including hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles and shark species such as scalloped hammerhead and whale sharks, and supports numerous fishing communities. However, this once pristine archipelago has slowly been degraded by a raft of local pressures including overfishing, illegal fishing practices, increased runoff from coastal developments and forest clearing, and population growth. The Myeik Archipelago was nominated as a Mission Blue Hope Spot because of its diversity of species and habitats. Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has recently been named as the Champion of the Myeik Archipelago Hope Spot as a result of our long-standing involvement at the site.…
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