Blog Archives

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.…
Posted in .Homepage, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Featured, mission blue, Partner Stories, Uncategorized |

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How the Donggang Fish Market Reflects the Current State of the World’s Big Fish

By Sharon Kwok, Mission Blue Board Member It was 3:00 am and business was in full swing in Hua Qiao seafood wholesale market, located in Donggang Township, nestled along the western coastline of the Taiwan Strait. Although the South of Taiwan is a common Hong Kong tourists’ destination, most don’t venture to Hua Qiao and when they do, it’s usually not during wholesale trading hours. They also generally stay where the restaurants are. I instead, drove through the gate to the wholesale area and was assaulted by the sounds of organised chaos filling the brine and blood scented air. Built on a strip of land resembling a finger pointing southwest, the trade area allows Tuna Long-liner fishing boats to easily unload and boasts a substantial parking area sandwiched by massive buildings dealing in every form of seafood you can imagine.…
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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).…
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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.…
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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.…
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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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Declaration of Jæren Coast Hope Spot in Norway Emphasizes Ocean Conservation and Ecotourism Over Oil Extraction

STAVANGER, NORWAY (June 16th, 2018) – While Norway has a leading role in the international oil industry and underwater technology, there are significant gaps in Norwegians’ knowledge of their own coastal marine ecosystems. In an effort to highlight the vibrancy of the local marine environment and as well as the threat that oil extraction presents to ecosystem integrity, Mission Blue has declared a Hope Spot at the Jæren Coast on the southwestern coast of Norway. The Hope Spot is championed locally by the Rachel Carson Prize, an organization dedicated to enhancing the legacy of Rachel Carson, the mother of the modern environmental movement. Dr. Sylvia Earle, the founder of Mission Blue, visited the Jæren Coast last year along with scientists and Norwegian policymakers, in order to bring more awareness to this rich marine ecosystem and also to accept the 2017 Rachel Carson prize.…
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Dive Deep Into Jellyfish Lake

By Ailan Flowers, Palau Mission Academy Chapter Recently, on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, I, along with my fellow Heir, had the amazing experience of going out to Jellyfish Lake in the Rock Islands of my home state — Koror, Republic of Palau — with incredible Palauan biologists of Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF). Through a program that Heirs To Our Oceans and CRRF partner in – A Day With A Scientist — I was invited to be a marine biologist for a day at Jellyfish Lake. I had no idea what it would be like, but I decided to jump at the opportunity. I hadn’t been to Jellyfish Lake for over three years, and I knew the experience was going to be a ton of fun.…
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Submit for the Ocean Film Challenge!

Filmmakers have the power to change the trajectory of human life on our water planet — from destruction to revitalization! Submit a short film for the Ocean Film Challenge, 7 minutes or under, on the impact humans have on the ocean and the actions individuals can take to save the ocean … and the humans who depend on it. The films will be juried by an industry panel and the top 8 films will be deemed the finalists films. The finalist films will premiere at DCEFF, the world’s largest environmental film festival on Friday, March 23, at 7:00 PM at the Naval Heritage Center. Following the premiere, awards will be announced for Best Film: Jury Choice, Honorable Mention, Best in Score, Cinematography, Sound and Editing.…
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The Goliath Grouper still needs your help in Florida waters!

This just in from our partners at Shark Team One regarding Goliath Groupers in the Coastal Southeast Florida Hope Spot! There is controversy over this large, lovable and docile creature! Even though most Floridians and people across the world know that goliath groupers are critically endangered, other people want to allow a select open season on this iconic fish due to the false belief that its numbers have increased enough to justify such a slaughter. Goliath groupers are extinct in most of their worldwide range and an official (SEDAR) stock assessment was done in Florida waters in 2016 but the results were thrown out due to lack of reliable indicators of the abundance of goliath groupers outside Florida, according to the FWC website.…
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