Monthly Archives: January 2017

Tailing Sharks in the Revillagigedo Archipelago

Shark Tagging and Conservation in the Revillagigedo Archipelago by Courtney MattisonIn the radiant blue of the Revillagigedo Archipelago Biosphere Reserve, about 250 nautical miles south of Cabo San Lucas, sharks rule. From its depths, Galápagos, hammerhead and silvertip sharks find all they need to thrive. White tips and silkies abound. Even the elusive whale shark, its enormous body weightless and almost invisible in the deep blue, frequents these waters. Humans are merely guests, and earlier this month, the Mission Blue expedition team paid a visit. DCIM100MEDIADJI_0002.JPG Sharks and rays throughout the Mexican Pacific and Gulf of California are threatened by commercial fishing operations, some which catch tuna and trap sharks as bycatch while others target sharks outright. Last year, the Mission Blue expedition team discovered tons of dead sharks on the beach of Bahia Los Frailes in Cabo Pulmo Marine Park in the Gulf of California Hope Spot, only 250 nautical miles from the Revillagigedo Archipelago Biosphere Reserve.…
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Canada: Please Improve the Proposed Protection Measures for the Scott Islands Hope Spot!

Find below a letter from Dr. Sylvia Earle, founder of Mission Blue, and Dr. Dan Laffoley, Chair of the Mission Blue Hope Spot Council, to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Canada urging improvement in the protection of the Scott Islands Hope Spot. Want to add your voice?Hon. Catherine McKenna Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada cc: Caroline Ladanowski, Director, Wildlife Management and Regulatory Affairs Division, Canadian Wildlife Service By Email Dear Minister McKenna, Mission Blue congratulates the Canadian Government’s efforts to protect the ecologically significant marine area surrounding the Scott Islands. However, we encourage the Government of Canada to improve the proposed protection measures for the Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area, for both the seabirds and for the other marine species that inhabit the waters in this ecosystem.…
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Since When Did We Become A Plastic Society?

Last week I attended the screening of A Plastic Ocean hosted by Plastic Pollution Coalition, Algalita Marine Research and Education, 5 Gyres, Team Marine, Ed Begley Jr., and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). Thanks for a great event! By: Shilpi Chhotray © 5 Gyres Since when did we become a plastic society? The documentary A Plastic Ocean seeks answers as two fascinating ocean explorers embark on a four year journey to understand the depth and damage of plastic waste in our ocean. Director Craig Leeson and free-diver Tanya Streeter meet with renowned scientists and researchers to witness and communicate the growing issue of ocean plastic pollution to the world. The results are not pretty, nor did I expect them to be given the major implications for all life on earth- from microscopic plankton to giant whales and sea birds, and even human beings. …
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Dodging Disney: Bahamians Seek Science to Save the Egg Island Hope Spot

By: Shilpi Chhotray, Mission Blue Communications Strategist (c) Theo Linn “Tourists from around the world come to see an untouched Bahamas. Meanwhile, the government says that cultivating high-volume, high-impact deals with cruise lines will bring local jobs. In reality few locals are hired to staff the cruise lines’ “private islands” and these fantasy terraforming projects naturally conflict with efforts to promote local, more lucrative eco-tourism. If Egg Island is designated a marine protected area, the community will see pretty quickly that the income-earning opportunities for eco-tourism far outstrip the earning potential of the average cruise port employee.” Theo Linn is an American attorney and resident of Russell Island, the closest community to uninhabited Egg Island. He recently assisted Bahamian colleague, Holly Peel, in a major battle against Disney Cruise Line. …
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Expedition Update: Fresh Off The Water from the Revillagigedo Archipelago

The Mission Blue expedition team — comprised of Kip Evans, Brett Garling, Courtney Mattison and Shari Sant Plummer — just got off the water from the Revillagigedo Archipelago 300 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, and we have some amazing stories to share with you! Last week we joined forces with our partners Fins Attached, Pelagios Kakunjá and FUSION Media to explore below the surface of this incredible open ocean oasis, which frequent visitors fondly refer to as “Revi” and Mexico’s “little Galápagos.” The Expedition Team congregates for a final farewell photo! It was a privilege to collaborate with the passionate teams from Fins Attached, Pelagios Kakunjá and FUSION Media. The science team, led by Dr. James Ketchum of Pelagios Kakunjá, deployed nine acoustic tags on silky, whitetip and silvertip sharks that will provide invaluable data to researchers on the migration, feeding and reproduction behaviors of key shark species in the Revillagigedo Archipelago Biosphere Reserve and across the Mexican Pacific.…
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Hope Spot on the Brink of Irrevocable Change

Our partner Henley Spiers reflects on his recent trip to the George Town Harbour Hope Spot! By: Henley Spiers A Queen Angelfish hides out in the wreck of the Balboa. (c) Henley Spiers I recently returned from Grand Cayman, home of the George Town Harbour Hope Spot and a place which has long been on my diving bucket list. For tourists, these islands are a stress-free haven of sunny white sand beaches and clear blue waters. Beneath the surface, however, a war is being waged over the future of this tropical paradise. George Town Harbour may be home to some of the most famous and accessible reefs around the island, but a project to build a new cruise ship pier threatens to decimate this underwater ecosystem.…
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Sea of Hope: Preserving the Heart of our Planet

True Blue Films and National Geographic Present Sea of Hope on January 15, 2017, on National Geographic Channel. SEA OF HOPE follows iconic ocean explorer and conservationist Dr. Sylvia Earle, renowned underwater photographer Brian Skerry, author and captain Max Kennedy, and their unlikely crew of teenage aquanauts on a year-long quest to secure their future. Deploying science and photography, they hope to inspire the creation of blue parks across an unseen and imperiled American wilderness. By: Laura Butz  (c) Ellen Cuylaerts We are all beneficiaries of the ocean and the natural world— nature provides us with an abundance of gifts for which we cannot take for granted. Too often we overlook the fact that harm done to the ocean, is harm done to ourselves. …
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Dr. Sylvia Earle: Can Marine Migratory Species Thrive in the Face of Consumption?

We are proud to collaborate with James Ketchum, shark expert at UC Davis and core member of the MigraMar network. MigraMar is committed to conducting scientific research to better understand and safeguard healthy populations of marine migratory species in the Eastern Pacific. For the past decade, James has studied shark ecology in the Gulf of California and shark movement patterns in Malpelo Island in Colombia and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. He is hopeful that his work will provide answers to where, why, and how sharks move and develop an alternative method for marine conservation with application to other regions and environments. Learn more about the important work of MigraMar from Dr. Sylvia Earle below! By: Dr. Sylvia Earle  © MigraMar Our Earth is defined by an ocean that was once considered unfathomable in its depths and diversity.…
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Gathering of the Giants: Today, We Set Sail for the Revillagigedo Archipelago

Brett Garling, Director of CommunicationsMost landlubbers haven’t heard of Isla Socorro. But adventurous scuba divers dream about it. The island, sometimes called Mexico’s “little Galápagos”, is a shield volcano that emerged from the ocean floor 5,000 years ago and peeked above the waves 300 miles south of Cabo San Lucas. As the largest island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, Socorro is an open-ocean way station along the migratory routes of large pelagic species like hammerhead sharks, giant oceanic manta rays and whale sharks. Blue whale sightings are not unheard of. To dive here is to dive among the giants of the ocean.   Today, the Mission Blue Expedition team in partnership with Fins Attached is casting off from Cabo San Lucas and heading down to these famous waters.…
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3 Million Tons of Cosmetics in the Ocean? The Mayan Riviera Hope Spot Dives into Action

By: Shilpi Chhotray, Mission Blue Communications StrategistWhat used to be small fishing villages and an undeveloped coastline, the Mayan Riviera boasts stunning beaches, a diverse portfolio of dive sites for scuba divers, and high-end luxury resorts. The Mayan Riviera is part of the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR), which contains the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, stretching nearly 700 miles from the northern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula down through the Honduran Bay Islands. Located in the north of the MAR are the coasts of Quintana Roo, which includes popular island destinations like Cozumel and the Banco Chinchorro atoll. The Yucatán Peninsula alone draws in adventure goers from around the world for cave diving in the many cenotes or sinkholes that are unique to this part of the coast (6,000!).  …
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle