President Piñera Announces Chile Will Advance a Proposal to Fully Protect an Area of the High Seas in the Southeastern Pacific, the First of its Kind
Featured image by Amos Nachoum.
SANTIAGO, APRIL 22nd, 2021
During the 2021 Virtual Leaders Climate Summit hosted on Earth Day, President Sebastian Piñera announced Chile will launch efforts to create a fully protected high seas marine protected area (MPA) in the Eastern Pacific as a priority measure to address the climate crisis. The high seas MPA will be the first of its kind, protecting the Nazca Ridge, an area incredibly rich in biodiversity and abundant in endemic species. The Nazca Ridge includes a series of connected submarine mountains offering refuge to both resident and migratory marine species, including threatened blue whales and leatherback sea turtles that return to these waters annually to breed and feed. The area proposed for protections has been designated as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area (EBSA) in need of protection under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).…
By: Angela Smith, Shark Team One
Goliath groupers are considered a keystone species since they are essential to a healthy reef and their presence and behaviors increase diversity within an ecosystem. The goliath grouper is also a vulnerable species and to give you an idea of how rare goliaths are, during a five-year Reef Visual Census (RVC) study from 2012 to 2016, assessments of reef fish abundance conducted by multiple regional academic institutions and government agencies found only 38 goliath groupers in the southeast Florida region (St. Lucie Inlet to Government Cut). Data from that project’s counterpart in the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas indicated that abundances were similar. Yet state policymakers are currently considering a tag lottery to kill 100 goliath groupers per year for a four-year period!…
Great Barrier Reef Hope Spot Announced with Call for Ocean-Loving Volunteers to Dive into Great Reef Census
CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA (April 21, 2021)
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has been officially declared as Hope Spot by Mission Blue. Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef have been named Champions of the newly launched Hope Spot in recognition of their work with a range of partners across tourism, research, and conservation on projects to protect and conserve the GBR.
To celebrate the launch of the new Hope Spot, which coincides with Earth Day, Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and Mission Blue are calling on ocean lovers across the globe to dive in and take part in a live conservation action to help protect the GBR.
By joining their Earth Day online event, citizen scientists can visit greatreefcensus.org and help analyze some of the thousands of survey images captured from across the GBR during the inaugural Great Reef Census — and in doing so, contribute directly to the future of the newly launched GBR Hope Spot.…
Marine Life Haven in Brazil Celebrated with Designation of Cagarras Islands and Surrounding Waters Hope Spot
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (April 16, 2021)
Off the coast of Rio de Janeiro lie the Cagarras Islands, a rugged, uninhabited archipelago settled by nestling seabirds and brilliantly colored crustaceans and seahorses under the water. The Cagarras Islands have served as a sparkling example of ecosystem resistance – while located in a heavily populated metropolitan area, these islands remain a beacon of hope for biodiversity, harboring several endemic species and serving as nursery and feeding grounds for many others. The Islands were designated as a Brazil federal natural monument in 2010, and make up the first no-take marine protected area (MPA) in Rio de Janeiro, Cagarras Islands Natural Monument (MONA Cagarras). The MPA no-take zone encompasses 10m around each of the six Cagarras islands and islets.…
Written by Madison Churchill; photos by Hannah Gabrielson
Donned in thick neoprene and extra-long fins, we dive below the surface. One breath at a time takes us deeper into an underwater world, bringing everything into focus with each descent. We are freediving at Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island, a historically thriving kelp forest that’s now under threat. What we see now is alarming. One dip beneath the surface reveals a barren of sea urchins as far as the eye can see. These spiny invertebrates serve their function in small numbers, but when left unchecked, can devour kelp like no other. Some stalks of kelp have been spared and continue to grow, but there’s been a clear shift. Something is out of balance.…
By Dan Laffoley and Dr. Sylvia Earle
Later this year a major meeting will occur in China under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which will establish the ‘post-2020’ global biodiversity goals to better protect nature and the planet. This meeting is set against ever-increasing urgency and desperation to get a grip on the now deeply concerning and accelerating decline in nature, increases in major disruptions from climate change, and the impacts of this on the planet, nature, people, and the very viability of options for our future. In doing so the meeting in China remains one of THE opportunities of our generation to focus the attention of Governments on significantly scaling up ocean biodiversity protection. But why then does the CBD seem to be dropping an emphasis on the ocean?…
Header image: An expanse of Sargassum. (c) The Nonsuch Expeditions, JP Rouja
By Teresa Mackey, Programme Manager, Sargasso Sea Commission
The Sargasso Sea, a two million square nautical mile expanse of the North Atlantic, has long been an area famed for mystery and intrigue. Although sometimes referenced in popular culture in connection with the mythical ‘Bermuda Triangle’, for scientists around the world it is an area of interest due to its oceanographic history and the biodiversity of the high seas ecosystem.
One mystery of the Sargasso Sea that continues to perplex scientists is the life cycle of the endangered European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and American eel (Anguilla rostrata). There is good scientific evidence that their spawning occurs in the Sargasso Sea, although the exact location has never been observed by scientists.…
Header image by Jeff Hester, Photographers Without Borders
(JANGAMO BAY, MOZAMBIQUE) FEBRUARY 25th, 2021
The expansive coast along Mozambique’s Jangamo Bay offers a warm welcome to its visitors with serene blue waters, rolling sand dunes and idyllic palm trees. In Jangamo Bay, tourists can witness migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and connect with manta rays (Mobula alfredi and Manta birostris) beneath the surface.
Unfortunately, the area also experiences the prominent global issue of overfishing due to unsustainable practices, including shark killing. However, local nonprofit marine conservation organization Love The Oceans has been working to transform this fishing-fueled economy into an economy supported by ecotourism backed by a healthy marine ecosystem.
Love The Oceans has delivered sustainable fishing workshops and educational projects teaching sustainability, biology and marine resource management to more than 1,250 school children to spark a passion for marine life and the ocean within the next generation.…
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.…
Featured image by Danny Copeland.
Dive into the Aeolian Islands Hope Spot StoryMap!
AEOLIAN ARCHIPELAGO, ITALY (2020)
The Aeolian Archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea, north of Sicily is a string of seven volcanic islands named after Aeolus, the Greek demigod of the winds. Under Italy’s brilliant blue skies, the rocky islands are speckled among sparkling cerulean waters and hold a cornucopia of life. Each of the Aeolian islands is a UNESCO World Heritage site, designated in recognition of their unique volcanic activity – three islands are active volcanoes, and the remaining four islands still represent secondary volcanic phenomena.
Many local organizations are fueling projects to preserve the islands with the support of the Aeolian Islands Preservation Foundation (AIPF), who works in collaboration with other national and international groups.…