Monthly Archives: November 2015

Exploring Toxics in our Bodies & the Ocean with eXXpedition

Here’s a word from eXXpedition—a new Mission Blue partner:eXXpedition is a series of all-women voyages to make the unseen seen, from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas. We question the impact and scale of plastic and toxic pollution in our bodies and in our oceans using a unique and adventurous approach, tackling the questions from all angles—using science, communications, media, and education to get the answers.  eXXpedition co-founders Lucy Gilliam and Emily Penn. Image © eXXpedition We have designed a series of global expeditions where we take novice sailors, who are highly skilled professionals from a range of disciplines, out into an extreme environment to explore the problem and develop solutions. Our primary aim is to connect people with the ocean, and the issues of plastic and toxic pollution.…
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Costa Rica Is Not Doing Enough to Protect Diminished Shark Populations

After the Mission Blue expedition to Cocos Island this past spring, we’ve been shining a spotlight on the unfortunate overfishing of sharks in Costa Rica’s waters. We took a moment this past week to catch up with our valued partners at Marviva, who are based in Costa Rica and have been fierce advocates for marine conservation and sensible policy. MB: How’s the situation on the ground? Marviva:  The situation with shark finning in the country has gotten worse even though the amount of sharks that have been landed and exported has been reduced in the last 5 years, from about 900 metric tons of 350 metric tons per year. It is still a very worrisome problem for a few reasons. First, there is not good control on what has been landed and where it comes from.…
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Restoring Coral Ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico Hope Spot

by Courtney MattisonTwo new studies provide evidence that the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster has harmed coral ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico’s mesophotic or “twilight” zone along a series of deep-water rocky reefs known as the Pinnacle Trend. Located approximately 200-300 feet below the surface at the edge of the continental shelf of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, this region’s mesophotic (or “middle light”) zone supports vibrant fish, coral and sponge communities in the Gulf.  Map profile of Roughtongue Reef, one of three mesophotic reefs directly affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Image courtesy USGS. In their latest study published last month in the journal Coral Reefs, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Florida State University, and JHT Inc.…
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Double-hulled Sailing Canoe Crosses the Globe and Lands at False Bay Hope Spot in South Africa

Hōkūleʻa, the incredible wind-powered circumnavigation conducted by Mission Blue partner Pacific Voyaging Society, has recently reached the shores of South Africa, halfway around the world from her home in Hawaiʻi. On November 10th, the sailing canoe pulled into False Bay, a Mission Blue Hope Spot, after having rounded the southernmost point of Africa. Ranging from Cape Point to Cape Hangklip near Cape Town, South Africa, False Bay is an area of dense kelp forests. Part of the False Bay Hope Spot is reserved as a marine protected area and no take zone, creating a sanctuary for large reef fish, abalone and small sharks. Fishing pressure in unprotected parts of False Bay is significant and pollution is also an issue in the area.…
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Island Reach is on Conservation Expedition in Vanuatu, Melanesia

Here’s a word from Drs. Janis Steele & Brooks McCutchen of Island Reach—a Mission Blue partner:We’re pleased to offer our 2015 expedition video shot in Bislama with English subtitles and produced in the field onboard Research Vessel Llyr. The video demonstrates peer-to-peer engagement among indigenous conservation activists while introducing viewers to remote regions of Vanuatu, her gorgeous oceanscapes and islands, intriguing people (1,000 villages and 120 languages spanning 83 islands) and the challenges and excitement of designing local ridge to reef conservation actions and climate change adaptation solutions—one reef and one village at a time. Climate Change and Biocultural Collapse are Calls to Action This 24-minute film features indigenous conservation leaders and communities in high gear, crafting sustainable solutions to local challenges.…
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Dr. Sylvia Earle Announces First Hope Spot in Mediterranean

Mission Blue and Asociación Ondine Partner to Protect Balearic Islands Dr. Sylvia Earle exploring a seagrass bed in the marine protected area of the small island of El Toro off the coast of Mallorca. Photo © Kip Evans for Mission Blue. Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder and Chairman of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) and Mission Blue, has named the Balearic Islands a Hope Spot—a special place worth safeguarding as a marine protected area for its importance to the health of the Mediterranean Sea. The announcement came during Dr. Earle and the Mission Blue team’s visit to Mallorca from November 10-12 in collaboration with Asociación Ondine and with the support of Stefan and Irina Hearst. Dr. Earle gave a lecture outlining the main aspects of her Mission Blue Hope Spots initiative at the Hotel St.…
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Expeditions to the Mergui Archipelago

Exploring and preserving this unique Mission Blue “Hope Spot” in Myanmar From Mission Blue partners Project Manaia:Mergui Archipelago Biodiversity Research (MABR) aims at surveying, understanding, and ultimately protecting the Mergui Archipelago of Southern Myanmar, designated one of Mission Blue’s “Hope Spots.” The Mergui Archipelago spans 800+ pristine, largely uninhabited islands, virtually isolated and in their natural state. Extending along the coast of Myanmar and south to Thailand lies a world waiting to be discovered, harboring undisturbed marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The islands are also home to the world’s last race of sea nomads, the Moken, who for generations have lived as one with the land and their surrounding seas. But this new frontier is at risk from expanding tourism, corporate development, oil, blast fishing and overfishing.…
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Mission Blue II Voyage: A Resounding Success in Calling for More Ocean Protection

Exploring over 1,500 miles of vibrant ocean in the South Pacific this past month, the Mission Blue II Voyage marked an important milestone for 21st century ocean conservation and underscored support at the highest levels for Hope Spots, Mission Blue’s flagship initiative. Aboard the 340-foot National Geographic Lindblad Expeditions Orion, world leading marine scientists, conservationists, policy makers, researchers, technologists and influencers traveled along the Pacific Equator from Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands and participated in an ocean symposium hosted and filmed by TED. Dr. Sylvia Earle, founder of Mission Blue, was as much a part of the onboard brainstorming as the underwater exploration that led to amazing finds like the ancient, oversized coral above. The Coral Triangle Hope Spot (Photo: TED) Mission Blue II Voyage Route (Image: Jonathan Knowles) In her TED filmed talk aboard the Mission Blue II Voyage, which will be made available at a later date, Dr.…
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Speak Up for the Ocean at Climate Negotiations

This winter, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris will feature one of the largest gatherings of world leaders to ever address global warming. The stage is set for all United Nations member states to come together and create an international agreement on the climate with the goal of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Yet the largest factor in our climate cycle isn’t on the COP21 agenda: the ocean. The ocean is a massive carbon sink that has absorbed nearly half of all human-produced CO2 since the Industrial Revolution. Climate experts warn that the ocean’s ability to absorb so much CO2 may soon hit a tipping point, with the ocean becoming saturated and thus unable to keep this greenhouse gas from rapidly accumulating in the atmosphere, acidifying the sea and throwing climate change into overdrive.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle