Blog Archives

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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Protecting the Coral Triangle with Mission Blue

PADI is encouraging all divers to actively participate in the protection of the Coral Triangle Hope Spot- a prime global center for marine biological diversity. By: Emily Bates, PADI For divers, the fact that the Coral Triangle holds 75% of the world’s coral species should be enough to fall absolutely in love with this ‘Amazon of the Seas’. And when we say that nearly 90% of those reefs are threatened, we should have your full attention. Mission Blue is calling for all hands on deck with conservation efforts towards the Coral Triangle, a region consisting of the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. This precious region faces warming seas, coral bleaching, destructive fishing, pollution, and coastal development that have caused 90% of the reefs to be considered ‘threatened’. …
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Diving for Coral Conservation: Chichiriviche Hope Spot

To view the article in Spanish, click here.  By: Shilpi Chhotray, Communications Strategist  The town of Chichiriviche de la Costa is a small gem on the Venezuelan coastline, set in a tranquil bay where a freshwater river runs through the mountains and empties into the sea. The locals live in the hills just above the beach, consisting of a few hundred people whose income is derived from fishing and local tourism opportunities. Coral reefs live on both sides of the bay, accompanied by a wide diversity of marine life. A variety of medusa and sea sponges frequently attract Hawksbill sea turtles which are commonly found feeding on the beach. Upwellings occur twice a year, providing important phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms which entice various species of sardines and herring.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle