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Gathered Foods, Makers of Good Catch® Plant-Based Seafood, Joins Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue Nonprofit in New Initiative to Help Preserve Key Ocean Ecosystems

Plant-based seafood leader to support Mission Blue with ongoing sponsorship and consumer call to action to help shift the decline of marine wildlife.
 
Austin, TX (June 8, 2021) – In honor of World Ocean Day, Gathered Foods, makers of Good Catch® plant-based seafood, today announced a new partnership with Mission Blue, an organization led by oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, that inspires action to explore and protect our ocean. With a common goal of protecting the world’s waters, Good Catch will become a corporate sponsor of Mission Blue to bring awareness and support for ocean conservation to the forefront. Together, Good Catch and Mission Blue will be initiating consumer campaigns to call for greater protection of Mission Blue Hope Spots, which are designated conservation areas protected by Mission Blue programs and government partnerships.…

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Panama Achieves 30×30 Ocean Protection Goals in Newly Expanded Cordillera de Coiba Marine Protected Area

Header image by Max Bello.
Spanish translation can be read at the bottom of the page.
PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (June 8th, 2021) –
On June 8th, 2021, Laurentino Cortizo, President of Panama and Milciades Concepción, Minister of Environment signed the decree that protects the Coiba Ridge, a move that will triple the Cordillera de Coiba marine protected area. With this act, Panama is set to be ahead of the 30% by 2030 goals (30×30) and become a true Blue Leader – a country that officially “highly and fully” protects 30% or more of its oceans. Panama will finalize the management plan to address the regulation of the new expanded MPA by the fall. 
 

 
Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, says, “Congratulations to President Laurentino Cortizo and the country of Panama for protecting this special part of the blue planet.…

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Cocos Island Hope Spot Champion Randall Arauz Pushes for Improved Marine Protections

Header photo by Cristian Dimitrius
Traducción al español al final.
COCOS ISLAND, COSTA RICA (May 27th, 2021)
Costa Rica has long been recognized around the world for its conservation efforts to protect its wildlife both on land and under the sea. Scientists estimate that approximately 5% of the world’s biodiversity is nestled in the country’s dense rainforests and beneath the surface of its 581,725 km2 exclusive economic zone (EEZ). However, a closer look reveals that out of Costa Rica’s 20 marine protected areas (MPAs), very few provide tangible protection for marine species. In fact, the vast majority are Multiple Use Marine Areas (MUMA), which are under-patrolled and allow for destructive fishing practices that damage the environment and have led to the further depletion of marine species that are vital to the continuance of sustainable food sources.…

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President Piñera Announces Chile Will Advance a Proposal to Fully Protect an Area of the High Seas in the Southeastern Pacific, the First of its Kind

Featured image by Amos Nachoum.

SANTIAGO, APRIL 22nd, 2021

During the 2021 Virtual Leaders Climate Summit hosted on Earth Day, President Sebastian Piñera announced Chile will launch efforts to create a fully protected high seas marine protected area (MPA) in the Eastern Pacific as a priority measure to address the climate crisis.  The high seas MPA will be the first of its kind, protecting the Nazca Ridge, an area incredibly rich in biodiversity and abundant in endemic species.  The Nazca Ridge includes a series of connected submarine mountains offering refuge to both resident and migratory marine species, including threatened blue whales and leatherback sea turtles that return to these waters annually to breed and feed.  The area proposed for protections has been designated as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area (EBSA) in need of protection under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).…

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The Invaluable Goliath Grouper – Our Coastal Southeast Florida Hope Spot Needs Your Help!

By: Angela Smith, Shark Team One

Goliath groupers are considered a keystone species since they are essential to a healthy reef and their presence and behaviors increase diversity within an ecosystem. The goliath grouper is also a vulnerable species and to give you an idea of how rare goliaths are, during a five-year Reef Visual Census (RVC) study from 2012 to 2016, assessments of reef fish abundance conducted by multiple regional academic institutions and government agencies found only 38 goliath groupers in the southeast Florida region (St. Lucie Inlet to Government Cut). Data from that project’s counterpart in the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas indicated that abundances were similar. Yet state policymakers are currently considering a tag lottery to kill 100 goliath groupers per year for a four-year period!…

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Great Barrier Reef Hope Spot Announced with Call for Ocean-Loving Volunteers to Dive into Great Reef Census

CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA (April 21, 2021)

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has been officially declared as Hope Spot by Mission Blue. Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef have been named Champions of the newly launched Hope Spot in recognition of their work with a range of partners across tourism, research, and conservation on projects to protect and conserve the GBR.
 
 
To celebrate the launch of the new Hope Spot, which coincides with Earth Day, Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and Mission Blue are calling on ocean lovers across the globe to dive in and take part in a live conservation action to help protect the GBR. 
By joining their Earth Day online event, citizen scientists can visit greatreefcensus.org and help analyze some of the thousands of survey images captured from across the GBR during the inaugural Great Reef Census — and in doing so, contribute directly to the future of the newly launched GBR Hope Spot.…

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Marine Life Haven in Brazil Celebrated with Designation of Cagarras Islands and Surrounding Waters Hope Spot

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (April 16, 2021)

Off the coast of Rio de Janeiro lie the Cagarras Islands, a rugged, uninhabited archipelago settled by nestling seabirds and brilliantly colored crustaceans and seahorses under the water. The Cagarras Islands have served as a sparkling example of ecosystem resistance – while located in a heavily populated metropolitan area, these islands remain a beacon of hope for biodiversity, harboring several endemic species and serving as nursery and feeding grounds for many others. The Islands were designated as a Brazil federal natural monument in 2010, and make up the first no-take marine protected area (MPA) in Rio de Janeiro, Cagarras Islands Natural Monument (MONA Cagarras). The MPA no-take zone encompasses 10m around each of the six Cagarras islands and islets.…

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Pacific North West Protectors: Guardians of the Kelp

Written by Madison Churchill; photos by Hannah Gabrielson

Donned in thick neoprene and extra-long fins, we dive below the surface. One breath at a time takes us deeper into an underwater world, bringing everything into focus with each descent. We are freediving at Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island, a historically thriving kelp forest that’s now under threat. What we see now is alarming. One dip beneath the surface reveals a barren of sea urchins as far as the eye can see. These spiny invertebrates serve their function in small numbers, but when left unchecked, can devour kelp like no other. Some stalks of kelp have been spared and continue to grow, but there’s been a clear shift. Something is out of balance.…

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Why Ocean Health is Central to Building Back Better Post COVID-19

By Dan Laffoley and Dr. Sylvia Earle

Later this year a major meeting will occur in China under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which will establish the ‘post-2020’ global biodiversity goals to better protect nature and the planet. This meeting is set against ever-increasing urgency and desperation to get a grip on the now deeply concerning and accelerating decline in nature, increases in major disruptions from climate change, and the impacts of this on the planet, nature, people, and the very viability of options for our future. In doing so the meeting in China remains one of THE opportunities of our generation to focus the attention of Governments on significantly scaling up ocean biodiversity protection. But why then does the CBD seem to be dropping an emphasis on the ocean?…

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Saving the Sargasso Sea: The Golden Floating Rainforest of the Atlantic

Header image: An expanse of Sargassum. (c) The Nonsuch Expeditions, JP Rouja
By Teresa Mackey, Programme Manager, Sargasso Sea Commission

The Sargasso Sea, a two million square nautical mile expanse of the North Atlantic, has long been an area famed for mystery and intrigue. Although sometimes referenced in popular culture in connection with the mythical ‘Bermuda Triangle’, for scientists around the world it is an area of interest due to its oceanographic history and the biodiversity of the high seas ecosystem. 
One mystery of the Sargasso Sea that continues to perplex scientists is the life cycle of the endangered European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and American eel (Anguilla rostrata). There is good scientific evidence that their spawning occurs in the Sargasso Sea, although the exact location has never been observed by scientists.…

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