Monthly Archives: October 2016

President of Colombia to Expand Protection in the Malpelo Hope Spot

By: Shilpi Chhotray, Mission Blue Communications Strategist Over 300 miles off the Pacific coast of Colombia lies Malpelo Island whose clear waters are teeming with colorful marine life. The driving force behind the success of the Malpelo Hope Spot is the community of ocean advocates and citizen scientists promoting its protection. Sandra Bessudo, Marine Biologist and Founder of the Malpelo Foundation, is at the heart of Malpelo and its strongest spokesperson. “When I first started going to Malpelo in 1987 and saw what was happening: anchors in the coral, sharks on the deck of the boat, I thought we must do something“. Since then, she’s worked with divers, scientists, and even multiple Colombian presidents to enforce protection of the island. On September 9th, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos pledged to more than double the size of the Malpelo Flora and Fauna Sanctuary.…
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The Mighty Antarctic Krill and the Global Movement to Save Them

Mission Blue is proud to partner with Lifeline Antarctica! One of the most important Hope Spots is the Ross Sea in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean. Currently, CCAMLR delegates have the unique opportunity to ensure this last great wilderness is protected. By: Kristin Urquiza, Lifeline Antarctica  Krill may be small but this shrimp-like crustacean plays a mighty role as the foundation of the Antarctica ecosystem. Penguins survive almost exclusively on krill and blue whales need four tons per day to survive. @ Dan Shapiro Because of krill’s critical position in the ecosystem, the United States prohibits its harvest off the Pacific coast. Partly as a result, the region’s blue whales have recovered to 97 percent of their pre-whaling population, the only fully recovered blue whale population in the world.…
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Ocean Force One

Mission Blue is proud to partner with Heirs to Our Oceans! By: Arjun Subramanian, Heirs To Our Oceans On Oct 3rd, Heirs To Our Oceans were invited to a closed press conference by the Ocean Cleanup team at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.  Eleven of us proudly attended.  The purpose of this press conference was for the Ocean Cleanup team to share their initial impressions of the first flight by the Aerial Expedition Team. The objective of the mission is to accurately quantify the ocean’s biggest and most harmful debris – discarded fishing gear, called ghost nets.  The Ocean Cleanup is an organization where CEO, 22 year old Boyan Slat designed a passive system which uses ocean currents to concentrate plastic in the garbage patches.  …
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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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A Killer’s Charm

Mission Blue is proud to partner with Earthwatch Institute!  By Alix Morris, Earthwatch Institute The story of a marine predator that has inspired both fear and fascination for generations. Discover why our research on the killer whale population in Iceland is so vital. The Wolves of the Sea @ Sara Tavares Off the coast of Vestmannaeyjar, an archipelago in the south of Iceland, a massive, black fin pierces through the waves…then a second, and a third. Fountains of seawater spray into the air. Beneath the surface, the “blackfish” call out to each other, their voices rhythmic as they sing and click a language unique to their pod. A family of killers, the wolves of the sea. Killer whales have captivated us for generations, inspiring both fear and fascination.…
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Protect the California Plastic Bag Ban for the Sake of Ocean Wildlife

Mission Blue is proud to report nearly 50,000 signees joined our petition towards the California plastic bag ban!  The California plastic bag ban is a critical piece of legislation to control plastic pollution in California’s marine protected areas (MPAs). Single-use plastic bags contribute to the deaths of fish, birds, sea turtles, whales and other wildlife living in California’s MPAs and beyond. We implore you to vigorously fight attempts by commercial interests to dismantle SB270 for the sake of private gain. Their success would be detrimental to the future of our precious ocean environment upon which humankind relies for vital ecosystem services. One such scourge is plastic bag pollution. Luckily, Californians have the chance to deal plastic bag pollution a deathblow on November 8th, 2016.  …
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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 On the Horizon: Cayman Islands

By: Laura Butz   @ Ellen Cuylaerts Recently, the George Town Harbor in the Cayman Islands was named a Mission Blue Hope Spot- one of fourteen newly designated Hope Spots.  This is incredible news for environmentalists both locally and internationally.  A designated Hope Spot is an area considered to be “critical to the health of the ocean”.  These special areas are recognized by Mission Blue and respectively conservationists around the globe as being in need of protection.  Conservation of these valuable areas will allow for the coral reefs, marine life and fragile ecosystems to rejuvenate and strengthen.  Individually, Hope Spots are beneficial to their specific surrounding habitat.  As part of a collective whole, they play a significant role in contributing to restoring the ocean’s ecosystem and marine life on a global scale. …
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The World’s Last Great Wilderness

By: Mike Walker, Project Director Antarctic Ocean Alliance @ John B. Weller For many of us Antarctica is out of sight and out of mind. We know even less about the waters surrounding it, the wild Southern Ocean. Our ignorance may aid its conservation, as what goes unseen goes, relatively, unharmed. However, this might also means we have not noticed the repeated failure of decision-makers to honour their commitment to protect this unique wilderness. Exactly 25 years ago on October 4, 1991, countries signed the Madrid Protocol to protect Antarctica’s environment. The agreement is widely regarded as one of the most successful examples of diplomacy in modern history and has ensured that Antarctica remains “a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science”.…
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CITES Paves the Way- Global Protection for Sharks and Rays

BREAKING NEWS: The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) approved new global protections for a host of vulnerable shark and ray species — thresher sharks, silky sharks and mobula rays — by establishing their status under the CITES Appendix II listing. Under this listing, countries are required to ensure their trade does not endanger these species in the wild and comes from sustainably managed fisheries.  Thresher shark; Malapascua Island, Philippines © Big Fish Expeditions Populations of thresher sharks, silky sharks and mobula rays have declined by 70 percent or more in many parts of their range due to the lucrative market for shark fins, considered a delicacy in Asian cuisine, and ray gill plates, which are sought after for a health tonic in Asian medicine. …
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