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Costa Rica Adds Nearly 53,000 sq km of Protected Waters to the Cocos Island National Park

On Friday, December 17th, 2021, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, and Andrea Meza, Minister of Environment and Energy, signed a decree expanding the Cocos Island National Park, which lies at the heart of the Cocos Island Hope Spot. This move adds approximately 53,000 sq km (21,235 sq miles) of fully protected waters to Costa Rica’s territory in the Pacific Ocean, making the total size approximately 55,000 sq km. 
 
 
This area of the Eastern Tropical Pacific hosts myriad endangered or threatened marine species like the scalloped hammerhead, which, like many other animals, uses the waters between Cocos Island and the Galápagos Islands as a migratory “swimway.” Marine animals, much like terrestrial animals, do not stay in one place.…

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Hope in the Conflict Islands

Photo: Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative
By Hayley Versace, General Manager, Conflict Islands Resort and Conflict Islands Hope Spot Champion

The Conflict Islands are one of just two Hope Spots in Papua New Guinea. The Conflict Islands are a privately owned atoll 22 kms by 14 kms wide in the center of a richly biodiverse marine ecosystem. This atoll is connected to several other Hope Spots in the region through the many migratory species that mate, raise their young and feed in these waters.
 
 
The conservation work by Conflict Islands Conservation Initiative (CICI), an Australian not-for-profit, has evolved thanks to our growing network of partners and supporters from all over the world, stemming from the support we have had from Mission Blue and Dr.…

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Young Marine Conservationist Champions the Fish Rock Hope Spot in New South Wales to Protect Critically Endangered Grey Nurse Sharks

Header image: Justin Gilligan
SOUTH WEST ROCKS, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA (AUGUST 24TH,  2021)

A five hour drive north of Sydney, New South Wales, is South West Rocks, a coastal town that just 5,000 people call home. Below the surface of its sandy beaches and picturesque pine trees is a 125-meter long underwater tunnel with its own unique ecosystem that supports a habitat for the critically endangered grey nurse shark. Local SCUBA diver and ocean conservationist Shalise Leesfield has a goal to establish a 1500m radius marine protected area at Fish Rock to protect these sharks and hundreds of other marine species that call the underwater tunnel home. Leesfield hopes that the recognition of the Fish Rock Hope Spot will bring to light the condition of Australia’s Grey Nurse shark population and the lack of support awarded to their recovery.…

Posted in .Homepage, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Featured, mission blue, Partner Stories, Photo of the Day, Uncategorized |

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Mission Blue Join Forces with ECO Magazine to Publish Special Issue on Marine Pollution

ECO Magazine and Mission Blue will publish a special digital issue that features the most recent scientific knowledge and solutions to address one of the biggest threats to our ocean: human-made pollution.
The growing problem of marine pollution touches all corners of the planet. While plastic dominates the media, human activities result in a complex mixture of substances and materials entering the ocean, including oil spills, chemicals, nutrients, pesticides and marine litter.
Laura Cassiani, Executive Director of Mission Blue says, “We are delighted to partner with ECO Magazine on this special issue focusing on marine pollution. Pollution in the ocean is a pervasive problem, especially plastics that have flooded the world’s shorelines and marine ecosystems. We’re looking forward to joining ECO Magazine to promote practical solutions and highlight efforts to reduce plastics in the ocean.” …

Posted in .Homepage, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Featured, mission blue, Partner Stories, Photo of the Day, sylvia earle, Uncategorized |

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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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Salish Sea Declared a Hope Spot in Celebration of New Marine Animal Hospital

Header image: Photo of K21, an adult male from the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population, taken off the Seattle waterfront. Photo credit: John Durban.  
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON (2020)

The Salish Sea has been declared a Hope Spot by international nonprofit Mission Blue in recognition of SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research (SR³) and their partners’ conservation goals to protect the local marine biodiversity. SR³ is kicking off their celebration as the Hope Spot Champions with the opening of a new marine animal hospital in Seattle, coming soon.
 
 
Connecting the waters between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada, the Salish Sea is bursting with iconic and beloved creatures like the endangered Southern Resident killer whales and humpback whales. As the original inhabitants of the sea, these mammals called the region home thousands of years before human beings walked to draw borders between countries, build ports, and develop commercial fishing to feed the rest of the two-legged world.…

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Kangaroo Island North Coast Hope Spot Highlights Need for Greater Protection

KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA (AUGUST 10TH, 2020)

Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third-largest island, and one of immense biological significance. A plunge beneath Kangaroo Island’s crystalline waves reveals a bursting rainbow of life – lucky divers can spot animals like striped reef fish, radiant sea stars, enigmatic jellyfish, pods of 100 dolphins and several threatened and endangered species. However, not unlike many other marine ecosystems, it faces the threat of ever-growing human interference.
 
 
Kangaroo Island North Coast has been declared a Hope Spot by international marine conservation nonprofit Mission Blue in recognition of the Hope Spot Champions’ goals of increased marine protection for the island’s surrounding waters and the expansion of ecotourism and research tourism in the area. Mission Blue also recognizes the need to protect Kangaroo Island from a proposed timber port project.…

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New Hope Spot in the Baltic Sea Calls for Widespread Ocean Education

GOTLAND, SWEDEN (July 6th, 2020)

Gotland, a limestone island that sits between southeast Sweden and Latvia surrounded by The Baltic Sea provides a marine environment unique in many aspects.  It is the largest brackish body of water in the world and is quite young – it’s approximately just 3,000 years old. Perhaps one of its most distinguishing characteristics is its salinity gradient which allows its waters to house both saltwater and freshwater species.
 
 
Mission Blue, ocean conservation nonprofit, has named Gotland a Hope Spot in support of the Hope Spot Champions’ goals of bringing ocean awareness to the general public through hands-on and digital educational programs for children and youth. On the island of Gotland, the Swedish mainland and the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea, there are many projects targeting the health of the sea and the marine habitat.…

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Working with the Largest Fish in the Ocean to Protect Migratory Species in the Eastern Pacific Seascape Hope Spot

The Spanish version can be read below.

The distinctive, rattling noise of an underwater noisemaker grabs the attention of the divers, and they quickly scan for the source of the sound: Dr. Alex Hearn. He is easy to spot, not only for his yellow tank but the exaggerated pointing. Before long the source of Dr. Hearn’s excitement is revealed. It’s a whale shark, about 12 meters (~40ft) in length cruising along above the reef off Darwin Island, one of the most remote, and recently protected islands in the Galápagos archipelago. 
Like nearly all the whale sharks that pass through the Galápagos Islands, this whale shark is an adult female and she will only stay for a few days before continuing her migration through the Eastern Pacific Seascape Hope Spot.…

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A Hope Spot Expedition Heads to the Tropical Eastern Pacific’s Enchanted Galápagos Islands

The Spanish version can be read below.

In the equatorial Eastern Pacific, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, lies an active volcanic archipelago that is like nowhere else on earth. Early Spanish sailors called these islands the Enchanted Isles because of the strong currents that pulled ships off course and heavy mist that caused the islands to “disappear”. Though the name was not initially intended to be a compliment, “enchanted” is still an apt description for this seemingly-magical geological and biological hotspot, now called the Galápagos Islands.
The 19 islands and dozens of islets that make up the Galápagos archipelago were all formed by volcanic activity, a hot spot where intense heat from the Earth’s mantle forced the crust of the Nazca Plate, an oceanic tectonic plate, upward.…

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