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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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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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Earth Law Center Brings Legal Firepower to Mission Blue Hope Spots

Guest Post by the Earth Law CenterEarth Law Center (ELC) is honored to be joining the Mission Blue team as a partner. We are inspired to complement and support Mission Blue’s commitment to expand ocean protection by transforming the law to recognize and protect the rights of nature by catalyzing the growing Earth Law movement. Earth Law recognizes the interconnectedness between humans and nature, and asserts that if humans have inherent rights due to their existence, so too do ecosystems and fellow species.  Fundamental legal rights have played a critical role in the ongoing evolution of society, as previously legal “things” became legal persons. Just as human rights drew a line in the sand to curtail our abuse of other humans, the securing of fundamental legal rights for nature will support and enhance ongoing efforts to ensure nature exists, thrives and evolves. …
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Olowalu Reef Is Announced as the First Hawaiian Hope Spot!

Photo Credit (c) Pauline FieneMission Blue is honored to announce the newest member of the Hope Spot family — and the first such area in the Hawaiian archipelago! The Olowalu reef is Maui’s “crown jewel,” a one thousand-acre coral reef that is home to the largest known manta ray population in the US (430 individuals) and the oldest coral in the main Hawaiian Islands. The Olowalu reef sustains an amazing diversity of rare and unique coral species and acts as a nursery to replenish and populate the reefs of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. In Hawaiian history, Olowalu was known as a Pu’uhonua (sanctuary) where people could take refuge, take time to reflect and heal. Given the rapidly declining resources locally and globally, the Olowalu community, in concert with many local partnerships, has taken the initiative to restore the balance that has been lost between people and nature.…
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Great Barrier Reef Legacy: Safeguarding Australia’s National Treasure

Mission Blue is proud to partner with Great Barrier Reef Legacy!  By: Jenna RumneyGreat Barrier Reef Legacy (GBR Legacy) aims to change the way the Great Barrier Reef is understood and protected by operating the reefs only independent research vessel. Our team consists of marine scientists, educators, tourism operators and media experts with over 90 years of collective reef knowledge and experience. Our ‘floating laboratory’ will provide free access to scientists, an interactive classroom for students, a platform for collaboration between existing environmental organizations, and a multimedia powerhouse to share news from the reef with the rest of the world. Image: GBR Legacy Our mission is to create a groundswell of community connection and passion for coral reefs which is of global significance.…
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Viewpoints: Rigs to Reefs

Rigs to Reefs (RTR) is the practice of converting decommissioned offshore oil and petroleum rigs into artificial reefs. We recently had a chance to talk to experts in the field of RTR with different viewpoints on the matter.Rainbow Warrior in her final resting place 26 meters below the sea off the coast of Matauri Bay, Far North, New Zealand.  © Roger Grace / Greenpeace Emily Callahan and Amber Jackson from Rigs-To-Reefs:   1. Who visits reefed rigs today? Where are they? How far offshore?  Research scientists, divers, and fishermen visit reefed rigs. In the U.S., there are over 500 platforms reefed in the Gulf of Mexico . California is the only other state in the U.S. with a Rigs to Reefslaw  (AB 2503), however, none of the 27 offshore oil and gas platforms have been reefed.…
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Swimming Around The Campfire

Manta Ray Experience Highlights Need for Balance of Animal Safety and Tourism By: Kristin HettermannKona, Hawaii — We were the last guests of the evening at a campfire like no other. It was pitch black when we emerged to flashlights waving us back to our vessel, and as the final few boats brought their nightly activities to a close, we reluctantly came out of the water. A moment before, I had been surrounded by a dense school of Āholehole (Hawaiian flagtail), their mass producing a strobe-like effect that created the feeling of being on a crowded dance floor. Just below me, two mantas were doing barrel rolls just feet from my body, and another dozen circled the vicinity. What if they came a few feet closer and lifted me out of the water?…
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Protect the Critically Endangered Goliath Grouper from Killing in Florida

In the earlier part of the last century, Atlantic goliath groupers were abundant from Florida to Brazil and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. If you have been lucky enough to be in the water with these creatures, then you appreciate their unflappable personality and awe-inspiring size, which reaches up to 8 feet and 1,000 pounds. The goliath grouper has no natural predators besides large sharks and humans. We are writing with regards to the latter. Goliath groupers reached commercial extinction in the late 1980s. For this reason, in 1990 a federal and state ban on killing them was implemented for U.S. federal waters and state waters of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, followed by a 1993 ban in the U.S.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle