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Mission Blue Names Newest Hope Spot off Lesbos Island in Greece

Lesbos is an historical Greek Island, home to important ancient personalities like poet Sappho, a way-station between the Aegean and Black Seas, as well as a modern crossroad used by migratory birds and a focal point of the European humanitarian crisis. On the north coast of Lesbos in the waters off the village of Petra, lies a marine area called Avlaki that boasts magnificent assemblages of aquatic birds, marine mammals and vibrant reefs in an impressive volcanic environment. As in most of the Aegean, fishing and other human impacts over the centuries have degraded the marine environment. Yet, the area still shimmers with life and attracts eco-tourists from around the globe. In concert with the Our Ocean Conference gathering happening now in nearby Malta, Mission Blue is thrilled to announce our newest Hope Spot at Avlaki, Lesbos Island, Greece!…
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Glimmers of Hope from an Ancient World

by Courtney MattisonUndulating in the clear cerulean water, long blades of Posidonia oceanica seagrass glittered green through the window of my scuba mask. As I sank among them, I felt as if I could disappear within their dense, elongated strands. I peered down and discovered a painted comber (Serranus scriba), twenty-five centimeters long, staring back at me from its hiding spot. Gazing ahead to the other divers in our group, I spotted a golden yellow brittle star climbing up the arm of Manu San Félix, an underwater filmmaker and marine biologist who was our guide on this dive. “The first time you jump on a place with Posidonia and you look through your mask, you will see a green meadow,” remarked Manu San Félix after the dive.…
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For Earth Day, We Say: Science Matters!

We stand behind the massive #MarchForScience that is convening in Washington DC this Earth Day! Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate science and the integral role it plays in ocean conservation! Scientific research gives us deeper insights into the world and the blue heart of our planet — and points the direction for saving it. Global problems necessitate hard science to fuel conservation, comprehensive management, and decision-making for the long term benefit of humans and animals. Don’t you agree? ​At Mission Blue, we are proud to partner with Pelagios Kakunjá. This team of dedicated scientists is the real deal, doing the hard work on the front lines to build the scientific case for further ocean protection. Their telemetry data of migrating populations of sharks and manta rays was instrumental in the Mexican government’s decision to permanently expand a no-take MPA at the Revillagigedo Archipelago from 9.5 miles to 12 miles.…
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Costa Rica Thermal Dome Expedition: Scientific Research on the High Seas

Mission Blue just returned from an adventurous outing to the Costa Rican Thermal Dome, a Mission Blue Hope Spot, where we documented scientific research in the service of conservation. The Mission Blue team worked in the water and on board the two expedition vessels to document science such as the tagging and release of sharks and turtles. The trip was spearheaded by our outstanding partners at MarViva, a regional non-profit that is actively documenting biodiversity and human uses in the Dome and making the case for a regional management scheme for the Dome. Their work is a guiding light for marine conservation in the region and this expedition helped bolster their case for greater conservation of the Dome. In short, MarViva is putting the “Hope” in this “Hope Spot”.…
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Citizen Science Supports Protection in the Moreton Bay Hope Spot

By: Shilpi Chhotray, Mission Blue Communications Strategist Citizen Science Supports Protection in the Moreton Bay Hope Spot “The citizen scientists in the Moreton Bay Hope Spot are living proof that the ocean is a big blue magnet that unites people who care. Their important work is benefitting the human and aquatic inhabitants of greater Brisbane by making a strong case for continued protection of this Hope Spot. Thank you to the citizens of Moreton Bay for collaborating and contributing data in the effort to protect and restore the blue heart of the planet. You are great cause for hope!” – Dr. Sylvia Earle The Moreton Bay community is a model example of how robust citizen science programs help ignite support and ongoing passion for marine protected areas.…
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Ocean Protection Goal Increases to 30%

A Proud Partnership- Mission Blue Applauds IUCN’s Motion to Protect 30% of  the Ocean By 2030!“Planet at the Crossroads” was the theme at this year’s World Conservation Congress. Organized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), leaders took bold steps in confirming recommendations for 30% marine protection by 2030. Over 180 countries and 700 conservation groups were represented.  Motion 53 came one week following President Obama’s historical expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Countries are now being urged to designate this as a minimum for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Building fuller sustainability would include the reduction of at least 30% “extractive” activities including fishing, mining, and drilling.  Pew Charitable Trusts outlines some of the ways in which this might be accomplished: States committing to designate at least 30 percent of their national waters as MPAs by 2030;  States engaging constructively in establishing MPAs in areas beyond national jurisdiction, through the development of a new global instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and through the adoption of new and existing proposals at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources; and  IUCN State Members calling on the CBD Secretariat to initiate the process for achieving a post-Aichi target of 30 percent of coastal and marine areas fully protected by 2030.…
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Journey Across The Arctic

Mission Blue is proud to partner with 5 Gyres!  By: Carolynn Box and Lia Colabello, The 5 Gyres Institute @ 5 Gyres5 Gyres was founded on the belief that citizen science can change the world. In 2009, we began raising awareness about marine plastic pollution when Dr. Marcus Ericksen and Anna Cummins collected 15,000 plastic water bottles to create the JUNK RAFT, which Marcus sailed for 2,600 miles for 88 day from California to Hawaii. Since then, the organization has embarked on 17 research expeditions, covering 50,000 miles and engaging scientists around the globe.   In 2014, 5 Gyres convened eight international scientists to publish the first global estimate of plastic pollution in our oceans: 5.25 trillion particles weighing in at 269,000 tons of “plastic smog” worldwide.   …
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Hope for Southeast Florida’s Marine Ecosystems

By: Angela Smith, Founder and President of Shark Team OneThe Story of the Coastal Southeast Florida Hope Spot! A damselfish in a staghorn coral colony off Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL © Angela Smith North of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary exists a critical area of coral reef habitat and other associated marine ecosystems that have been in decline for decades due to overuse and their proximity to the heavily populated cities of Southeast Florida. Although in 1990 the Florida Keys were declared a sanctuary, the reef areas extending from Key Biscayne in the south up to St. Lucie Inlet in the north still remain unprotected. Southeast Florida marine habitats hold populations of critically endangered species like staghorn and elkhorn coral, and smalltooth sawfish.…
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Hope Spot Hatteras: Lessons Learned

Meet Hope Spot Hatteras, one of the 14 new Hope Spots designated by Mission Blue and the IUCN World Conservation Congress. After months of waiting to hear back about our Hope Spot: Hatteras nomination, we are so happy to announce Dr. Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue have voted to establish a Hope Spot 40 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras! View the most recent updates on our website and the Hope Spot nominations here.     © Hope Spot Hatteras   As a small group of community members and students, taking on an idea this big to protect the ocean was intimidating, but the support from our communities and those across the east coast alongside our love of the ocean kept us fighting for Hatteras. …
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Atlantic’s First Marine National Monument!

  THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary   FACT SHEET: President Obama to Continue Global Leadership in Combatting Climate Change and Protecting Our Ocean by Creating the First Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean    Today, President Obama will designate the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean, protecting fragile Dr. Sylvia Earle during a Mission Blue Expedition to Cashes Ledge in the Northern Atlantic © Kip Evans deep-sea ecosystems off the coast of New England as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The new national monument – which encompasses pristine underwater mountains and canyons – will provide critical protections for important ecological resources and marine species, including deep-sea coral and endangered whales and sea turtles.  President Obama will make this announcement in remarks today at the 3rd annual Our Ocean Conference in Washington D.C.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle