Monthly Archives: May 2017

Saanich Inlet and the Southern Gulf Islands at Risk – Mission Blue Takes Action

By: Emily Bates, PADI Teeming in the cool waters of Vancouver Island, Canada is some of the greatest diversity of marine life in North America. The famous Jacques Cousteau stated that, “it’s the best temperate-water diving in the world and second only to the Red Sea.” In March 2017, Mission BlueTM proudly announced the approval of a new Hope Spot: Saanich Inlet and the Southern Gulf Islands in British Colombia, Canada. Bordered by Vancouver Island, the mainland of North America, and the USA/Canada border, this special location is rich with ecologically diverse creatures and plants that are unique from anywhere else in the world. Photo: Ron DeVries | Rockfish Divers Marine Science Foundation Despite its value, this Hope Spot faces many challenges like overfishing, heavy marine traffic, urban development that causes pollution, and agricultural run-off that threaten the health of this region.…
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Working to End Whaling in the Saint Vincent and Grenadines Hope Spot

Note, this feature contains sensitive content. By: Marc de Verteuil Hundreds of cetaceans are killed by fishermen in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) each year. The species targeted includes humpback whales, orcas, bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales. Adam Gravel, 28, is a Vincentian ocean activist and the founder of SalvageBlue, a NGO dedicated to establishing SVG as a Hope Spot. Hope Spots sprang from the mind of marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle. She introduced the idea during a TED talk in 2009. The campaign is headed by Dr. Earle’s NGO Mission Blue and it receives support from National Geographic, Rolex and Google. Gravel spent his childhood in the sea swimming with dolphins, turtles and sharks. Adam swimming with a turtle.…
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Destination Cocos Island: One of the Sharkiest Places on Earth

Considered to be the most beautiful island in the world by Jaques Cousteau, the island of Cocos in Costa Rica is a sight to behold. Located 350 miles off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, lives a diversity of large pelagic species including sharks, rays, tunas, and dolphins. Sharks including hammerhead, Galápagos, silky, tiger, white tip reef and whale sharks are common sightings, making it a haven for scientists, divers, and marine enthusiasts alike. The iconic animals are known to migrate throughout the Eastern Tropical Pacific from the Galapagos to Columbia, Panama, and Costa Rica. Sharks are integral apex predators that shape the food web and maintain a healthy ecosystem for all marine life. Unfortunately, they continue to be hunted for their fins and exported to China in violation of international agreements, despite Cocos Island designation as a World Heritage Site. …
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The Night Watch

In Playa Grande, Costa Rica, more than 20 years of egg poaching consumed a generation of leatherback sea turtles, bringing the population in the Eastern Pacific to the brink of extinction. Today, Earthwatch scientists and volunteers are working alongside local communities to ensure there’s a future for this species. By: Alix Morris, Earthwatch Institute Earthwatch teams work with leatherback – credit Carrie Lederer When María Teresa Koberg first arrived in Playa Grande, Costa Rica in the late 1980s to study nesting sea turtles, Doña Esperanza Rodriguez was concerned. At the time, Playa Grande was the most important nesting site worldwide for leatherback sea turtles, but it was also a dangerous place, particularly for a researcher. People were arriving on the beaches from all over the country to harvest eggs from the turtles’ nests, and Esperanza and her family were involved in managing these efforts.…
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The Case for Shark Fin Trade Bans

This article originally appeared on Southern Fried Science.  By: Mariah Pfleger, Oceana The demand for shark fins is widely recognized as one of the major contributors to shark mortality around the world. However, solutions to decrease this demand are hotly debated, especially in the scientific community. Southern Fried Science and other websites have published opinions that debate the effectiveness of shark fin bans, but as a shark scientist working to implement this policy I would like to present the case for shark fin trade bans.       The conversation is newly relevant with the introduction of the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act in the Senate on March 30th by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Shelly Moore-Capito (R-WV) and in the House on March 9th by Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-MP).…
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Hope Spot Hatteras: A Diver’s Paradise

By: Tanya Houppermans Only 4% of our world’s oceans are under any kind of protection. But Dr. Sylvia Earle and her ocean conservation organization Mission Blue are looking to greatly increase those numbers. One way of doing that is through the creation of Hope Spots, areas that are vital to the health of the ocean. Anyone can nominate an area to become a Hope Spot, and the final selection of Hope Spots is conducted by Mission Blue and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Once a Hope Spot is selected, Mission Blue releases a press statement about the location and educates the public about the value of that location to the health of the ocean, along with information about regional conservation efforts.…
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Saving the Tropical Pacific Sea of Peru

An update from the Tropical Pacific Sea of Peru Hope Spot!  By: Eduardo G. Salcedo Lima, Peru’s bustling capital city of almost 10 million inhabitants is sandwiched between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  The country experienced a decade of prosperity between 2004 and 2014, a result of economic reforms that attracted international investments.  It was a welcomed breath of fresh air from the decade before, a dark economic period marked by inflation, corruption, and guerrillas.  New business opportunities arose.  Peru’s gastronomic industry flourished and soon thousands of restaurants from cheap to high-end establishments popped up all over the city.  The result was an increased demand for seafood, a natural resource Peru may be blessed with but not without costs to the marine environment. …
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Buceando Para Conservar Los Corales: Punto De Esperanza Chichiriviche

Spanish translation of Diving for Coral Conservation: Chichiriviche Hope Spot Traducido Por: Rubén Nino El pueblo de Chichiriviche de La Costa es una pequeña gema en la línea costera Venezolana, una tranquila bahía donde un río proveniente de las montañas descarga en el mar. Los lugareños viven en la parte baja de las montañas justo detrás de la playa, y son unos cientos de habitantes cuyos ingresos dependen de la pesca artesanal y el turismo local. En ambos lados de la bahía se encuentran arrecifes coralinos con una gran diversidad biológica. Varias especies de esponjas y medusas atraen Tortugas Carey, que son encontradas frecuentemente alimentándose de ellas en la playa. Dos veces al año ocurre la surgencia, lo cual produce aumentos relativos en las poblaciones de fito y zooplankton, y atrae varias especies de sardinas y arenques.…
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The Longest Swim, An Expedition Across The Pacific

We are proud to partner with The Longest Swim!  By: Paul Lecomte “The Longest Swim is an exciting opportunity to highlight the deep connection we all have with the ocean – and the importance to protect and cherish it. Fins crossed for a safe crossing!” -Dr. Sylvia Earle Ben Lecomte and his team are preparing for a world-record swimming attempt to better understand and protect the ocean. The challenge? Swimming 8 hours a day for 6 months to cross the 5,500 miles from Tokyo to San Francisco! No stranger to crossing the ocean, he was the first man to swim across the Atlantic from Boston (USA) to Quiberon (France) without a kickboard, as a tribute to his father and to support cancer research in 1998.…
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Outreach and Action: An Update from Hope Spot Hatteras

By: Sam Athey, Plastic Ocean Project There is fewer and fewer places left in the world truly wild, untouched by man. Places where one can escape the human world and be completely submerged in living nature. Cape Hatteras is one of these places, however, the untouched area is shrinking. I have been on the planet for two short decades and can only imagine what Cape Hatteras was like over half a century ago. Locals tell me stories of strolling along Coquina Beach hunting for the largest seashells, sailing twenty miles offshore of Cape’s Point following the biggest schools of dolphinfish, and laying under the Milky Way at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and feeling as if you were on the edge of the universe.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle