Hope Spots


Frequently Asked Questions

 1. What is a Hope Spot?

A Hope Spot is any special place that is critical to the health of the ocean—Earth‘s blue heart. Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. Dr. Sylvia Earle introduced the concept in her 2009 TED talk and since then the idea has inspired millions across the planet. Dr. Earle wishes for “a global network of Hope Spots that will protect and restore a healthy ocean.”

While about 12 percent of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks etc.), less than four percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Hope Spots allow us to plan for the future and look beyond current marine protected areas (MPAs). Hope Spots are often areas that need new protection, but they can also be existing MPAs where more action is needed. They can be large, they can be small, but they all provide hope due to:

  • A special abundance or diversity of species, unusual or representative species, habitats or ecosystems
  • Particular populations of rare, threatened or endemic species
  • A site with potential to reverse damage from negative human impacts
  • Spectacles of nature, e.g. major migration corridors or spawning grounds
  • Significant historical, cultural or spiritual values
  • Particular economic importance to the community

The idea is that anyone can nominate a site special to him or her—a site that gives HOPE. Collectively all of these Hope Spots will create a global wave of community support for ocean conservation that leaders and policy makers can’t ignore.

 2. What does Mission Blue hope for from nominators and what is my role? Who maintains Hope Spots?

If you decide to nominate a Hope Spot, we hope you are also ready to commit time to working for your Hope Spot and partnering with us to achieve tangible results there. There are many ways this can happen and you will always be able to direct that progress according to your needs and timetable. The Hope Spot council will be of great help here as they have lots of experience and contacts from around the world that will be at your disposal. I.e. ideally, it would be your role to manage your Hope Spot but, we have a global network of experts and partner organizations that you can partner with where required.

 3. Can I nominate a Hope Spot as a private individual, organization or community?

The nomination process is open to all. In fact that’s what makes it so special. It’s the only global platform for informally recognizing special places in the marine world that come from you—the global community.

 4. How do I nominate a Hope Spot?

You can nominate a Hope Spot by clicking HERE. Read our useful guidelines to the process here– they will save you lots of time. 

 5. How does Mission Blue support Hope Spots?

This is a really exciting time for marine conservation as the world is gaining momentum in dealing with the many threats our ocean is facing. Using our extensive resources for public outreach, Mission Blue will increase visibility for your Hope Spot through both traditional and social media. We will help you build collaboration between potential partners, coordinate expeditions and advocate for legal protection of your Hope Spot.

6. What is the advantage of being identified as a Hope Spot?

Upon approval as a Hope Spot, Mission Blue celebrates with you or your organization by scheduling a press announcement and assisting in increasing local, national and governmental recognition. We will also host and share online stories about your Hope Spot on multiple platforms including our beautiful new newsletter: Hope Spot Sentinel! The news will have massive social media outreach, locally and globally and so it will be a great opportunity to share your story with the world. This globally recognized platform will become a valuable education and marketing tool- the possibilities are endless and will hopefully lead to legal protection. Our Hope Spot council will also be available for world-class advise and an extensive, international network of other marine experts. We also have an exciting online tool available soon that will allow Mission Blue champions and partners to create their own Hope Spot related material like maps and web stories, store and manage their online presence and so much more.

 7. What information and how much detail do I need to fill in the nomination questionnaire/form?

Much of the information we need is what you might expect – your contact details, why you believe your Hope Spot is special etc. We also need you to give us more detailed information so the council can make an informed decision, for example what your plans are towards protecting the area and finding partners to support you work etc. Click here to see all the questions.

 8. What will happen after I nominate my Hope Spot?

After you submit a completed nomination application, your Hope Spot proposal will appear on our map. If there is enough information to do so, we will be setting up an initial call between you and a council member to get a better feel for you site and its specific conditions.  After that Dr. Earle and the council, made up of a team of expert marine scientists, will review your nomination and hopefully move towards official Hope Spot status.

 9. What will happen to my stories and the information I give you?

If your Hope Spot is approved, the stories and information you provide Dr. Earle and Mission Blue will contribute to our newsletter, the Hope Spot Sentinel, to share the story and value of your Hope Spot. We aim to build a movement to ignite support for a global network of marine protected areas. In addition and with your permission, we plan to share your stories and content on Mission Blue’s vast social media networks and website. Your submissions will never be sold or used for commercial purposes.

 10. How can I learn more about Hope Spots?

Sign up to the Hope Spot Sentinel newsletter and explore the Mission Blue website for general information about the initiative, as well as maps, videos, photos, descriptions, stories and much more about individual Hope Spots. If Netflix is available in your location, you may view the Emmy Award Winning documentary, Mission Blue, for the story behind Dr. Earle and Hope Spots.

 11. How can I support Hope Spots apart from just nominating one?

There are numerous ways:

  • Financial support: Make a donation (any amount is important!) to Mission Blue via this website link. You can designate whether your donation should support all Hope Spots, or be focused on support for a particular one.
  • Media support: You can help by contributing photographs and videos you may have from Hope Spots—especially those underwater and from remote areas. To share content, contact Mission Blue at
  • Volunteering support: Contact a local organization working in your Hope Spot area and offer your time to volunteer for them. It’s free for you and can have a huge impact, helping grateful organizations in the field. If this is one of the ways you decide to help, send us photos and stories to share what you are doing!

If your question hasn’t been answered yet or you want to contact us regarding other queries, feel free to email us at

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