Newly Declared Wotho Atoll Hope Spot in Marshall Islands Championed by Minister of Education and High School Biology Teacher
Header image: Kudo Kabua
WOTHO ATOLL, MARSHALL ISLANDS (September 14th, 2021)
In the middle of the central Pacific Ocean lies the Wotho Atoll, a string of 13 islands in the Republic of Marshall Islands. Beyond its idyllic coastal breeze, Wotho is known locally for its beautiful beaches, turtle nesting sites, extensive bird populations and colorful corals. The atoll is also very remote – as one of the least inhabited of the Marshall Islands, Wotho is home to just 90 Marshallese.
Wotho Atoll has been declared a Hope Spot by international marine conservation nonprofit Mission Blue. Kitlang Kabua, Minister of Education of the Marshall Islands and Matthew Gerber, local high school biology teacher, are the Hope Spot Champions and have received approval from the King and Land Owner to dedicate the entire atoll for protection and conservation. …
Photo: Smith Bay (c) Phyll Bartram, Hope Spot Champion
Kangaroo Island, Australia (August 2021)
The application submitted to build a deep-water port facility at Smith Bay, Australia by Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KIPT) has been rejected by Vickie Chapman, Minister for Planning and Local Government. Chapman quoted potential long-term and irreversible impacts on the environment, local business and character of Kangaroo Island in her decision.
“I am aware my decision will have an impact on the local timber industry, and I can assure South Australians that I will continue to search for a sustainable solution for this industry on Kangaroo Island,” Chapman said.
Tony Bartram, Champion of Kangaroo Island North Coast Hope Spot, shares his support of the decision. “Through a multi-year campaign we sought to educate at multiple levels about the beautiful blue space we have – the oceans – in the hope of informing decision-making processes.…
August 30th, 2021
This year, so far, has been a bright one. We have launched nine Hope Spots with many more on the horizon. These are deeply ecologically important places between the sharky shores of Mozambique to magnificent Fish Rock in Eastern Australia. I am so thrilled that each of them is Championed by passionate ocean stewards whom I am honored to call members of our community.
I recently returned from Portugal’s Azores Archipelago, where we celebrated the launch of the new Hope Spot and the Azores’ local government’s commitment to protecting 15% of its waters. What a relief after much perceived doom and gloom around us to celebrate the dedication to ocean protection in such a special marine ecosystem. Azores is a magical place – it’s right out in the middle of the ocean that acts like a magnet for life.…
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.…
Header image by Nuno Sá
By: Shannon Rake, Hope Spots Program Manager
My name is Shannon Rake and I am the Hope Spots Program Manager for Mission Blue. As many readers of this blog will already know, Hope Spots are special places in the ocean where Mission Blue works with local champions to promote the creation and enforcement of marine protected areas. The Azores is one such Hope Spot and that’s where this story starts, as we arrived there to meet the local champions and get an update on their conservation efforts. The trip would turn out to be unforgettable with the President of the Azores announcing an expansion of the Azorean marine protected area, as well as the opportunity to witness first-hand the cutting edge of local marine science efforts.…
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.” …
New Champions of the Quirimbas Archipelago Hope Spot Celebrate with Plans to Expand Local Marine Protected Area
QUIRIMBAS ISLANDS, MOZAMBIQUE, JULY 22nd, 2021
The 34 islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago span nearly 300 kilometers of coastline from the Tanzania-Mozambique border in the north to Pemba Bay in the south. Among the archipelagos’ greatest treasures are the deep submarine canyons that run between many of its islands where cool water upwellings support the highest coral species diversity documented outside of the Coral Triangle. The islands’ unique blend of environmental and social drivers establishes it as one of the most diverse, productive, and intact marine ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean, which has led to its recent recognition as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Key Biodiversity Area.
Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, considers the Quirimbas Islands as a “shining beacon of hope on the African Coastline” and designated the archipelago as one of the first Mission Blue Hope Spots in 2013.…
AZORES, PORTUGAL (July 8th, 2021) –
Rising from the deep seafloor where three continental plates meet, the Azores Archipelago stands as a grand oasis in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Here, underwater volcanoes host highly specialized fauna and rugged seamounts hold vibrant, thriving sponges and coral gardens. Forever loved by the whales, adventurous sailors, and its people, the rich heritage of the Azores Archipelago has become globally renowned and cherished. To flourish into future generations, stakeholders believe that these marine ecosystems need to be preserved by a comprehensive network of marine protected areas (MPAs).
Mission Blue, international ocean conservation nonprofit, recognizes the Azores Archipelago as a Hope Spot in support of a coherent network of MPAs that extend from the surface of the sea all the way down to the deep seafloor.…
By Madison Churchill, PNW Protectors
Dense kelp forests once created a thick border up the coast from Baja California to Alaska. These underwater forests rival Amazonian rainforests for productivity and biodiversity. Heaping matts of kelp can be seen pooled up on the surface; a glimpse into a complex structure underneath. Stretching hundreds of feet tall in some places, these towering stalks are great connectors between the waves and the seafloor. Most people only see kelp on the surface, where it drifts along in thick rust-brown tangles. It’s quite a sight to behold even from above, but this is as far as many people go. At PNW Protectors, we wanted to dive deeper and explore the ecosystem from a different angle. Freediving through these ancient forests has given us a unique perspective and has allowed us to document changes that most people never witness. …
Discovery highlights need to create a marine “superhighway” connecting the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
JUNE 21, 2021 –
Scientists uncovered a new example of migratory movements between Galapagos Marine Reserve and Cocos Island National Park on a research trip this year, supporting global efforts to improve the conservation of migratory marine species. The research trip was supported by philanthropist and ocean advocate, Dona Bertarelli, and her family. The discovery is featured in a film by Sails of Change & Only One Collective which urges viewers to sign a petition calling on the governments of Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Panama to establish the world’s first multinational network of marine protected areas.
A female tiger shark – tagged on an expedition led by non-profit organization OCEARCHwith MigraMar, Galapagos National Park Directorate and Charles Darwin Foundationscientists in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands seven years ago – surfaced at Costa Rica’sCocos Island in February, almost 700 kilometers to the northwest.…