Blog Archives

Olowalu Reef Is Announced as the First Hawaiian Hope Spot!

Mission Blue is honored to announce the newest member of the Hope Spot family — and the first such area in the Hawaiian archipelago! The Olowalu reef is Maui’s “crown jewel,” a one thousand-acre coral reef that is home to the largest known manta ray population in the US (430 individuals) and the oldest coral in the main Hawaiian Islands. The Olowalu reef sustains an amazing diversity of rare and unique coral species and acts as a nursery to replenish and populate the reefs of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. In Hawaiian history, Olowalu was known as a Pu’uhonua (sanctuary) where people could take refuge, take time to reflect and heal. Given the rapidly declining resources locally and globally, the Olowalu community, in concert with many local partnerships, has taken the initiative to restore the balance that has been lost between people and nature.…
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Glimmers of Hope from an Ancient World

by Courtney MattisonUndulating in the clear cerulean water, long blades of Posidonia oceanica seagrass glittered green through the window of my scuba mask. As I sank among them, I felt as if I could disappear within their dense, elongated strands. I peered down and discovered a painted comber (Serranus scriba), twenty-five centimeters long, staring back at me from its hiding spot. Gazing ahead to the other divers in our group, I spotted a golden yellow brittle star climbing up the arm of Manu San Félix, an underwater filmmaker and marine biologist who was our guide on this dive. “The first time you jump on a place with Posidonia and you look through your mask, you will see a green meadow,” remarked Manu San Félix after the dive.…
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Houtman Abrolhos Islands Announced as Mission Blue Hope Spot During Necker Island Blockchain Summit

The Houtman Abrolhos Islands, an A-Class marine reserve 60km off the coast of Geraldton in Western Australia, have been recognised as an ocean Hope Spot by ocean conservation organisation Mission Blue, joining 85 other sites globally and one other in Australia – Moreton Bay in Queensland. The Mission Blue Hope Spot program, led by legendary oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, is a global campaign to build public awareness, support and, where necessary, protection for special places that are vital to the health of the ocean.Often described as the Galapagos Islands of the Indian Ocean, there are few places in Australia wilder and with more biodiversity than the remote Houtman Abrolhos Islands. The islands provide substantial economic, scientific and social benefits to the Western Australian community, including commercial fisheries for rock lobster, scallops and finfish; pearl aquaculture; recreational fishing; marine-based activities; bird watching and a developing tourism industry.…
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Shark Finning Primer With A Lifelong Activist-Conservationist

On our recent expedition to Cocos Island, a global hotbed of shark activity, we sat down with Randall Arauz, a lifelong marine conservationist and recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2010 for his efforts for the protection of the sharks and banning of the shark finning industry in Costa Rica. What follows is a primer on why shark finning happens and how science can help stop it and inform sensible conservation management strategies. The questions were asked by Kip Evans, Mission Blue’s Director of Photography and Expeditions. Randall Arauz, of Fins Attached   KE: Could you describe the shark fishing and finning problem on a global level? RA: Shark finning is a global issue and it started in the 80’s when the long line explosion happened throughout the world and the fishermen saw that they could make a fortune off of shark fins.…
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The Forever Project

By: Eleanor Ryder, The Forever Project Earth is unique amongst the universe’s known planets. It enjoys an atmosphere, climate, incredible biodiversity and is dominated by deep, blue, beautiful oceans. These oceans cover 70% of our planets’ surface and are home to untold numbers of fascinating marine creatures. The ecosystems of our oceans produce half the oxygen we breathe and provide food for over 60% of the world’s population. The ocean nurtures and sustains us and mankind enjoys a relationship with the sea that has existed since time immemorial. Today, however, our oceans are in peril, with international research providing compelling evidence that marine plastic pollution is an enormous environmental issue and that the world’s oceans are reaching a dangerous tipping point creating huge implications for the health of the marine environment and its biodiversity.…
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Great Barrier Reef Legacy: Safeguarding Australia’s National Treasure

Mission Blue is proud to partner with Great Barrier Reef Legacy!  By: Jenna RumneyGreat Barrier Reef Legacy (GBR Legacy) aims to change the way the Great Barrier Reef is understood and protected by operating the reefs only independent research vessel. Our team consists of marine scientists, educators, tourism operators and media experts with over 90 years of collective reef knowledge and experience. Our ‘floating laboratory’ will provide free access to scientists, an interactive classroom for students, a platform for collaboration between existing environmental organizations, and a multimedia powerhouse to share news from the reef with the rest of the world. Image: GBR Legacy Our mission is to create a groundswell of community connection and passion for coral reefs which is of global significance.…
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Viewpoints: Rigs to Reefs

Rigs to Reefs (RTR) is the practice of converting decommissioned offshore oil and petroleum rigs into artificial reefs. We recently had a chance to talk to experts in the field of RTR with different viewpoints on the matter.Rainbow Warrior in her final resting place 26 meters below the sea off the coast of Matauri Bay, Far North, New Zealand.  © Roger Grace / Greenpeace Emily Callahan and Amber Jackson from Rigs-To-Reefs:   1. Who visits reefed rigs today? Where are they? How far offshore?  Research scientists, divers, and fishermen visit reefed rigs. In the U.S., there are over 500 platforms reefed in the Gulf of Mexico . California is the only other state in the U.S. with a Rigs to Reefslaw  (AB 2503), however, none of the 27 offshore oil and gas platforms have been reefed.…
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Swimming Around The Campfire

Manta Ray Experience Highlights Need for Balance of Animal Safety and Tourism By: Kristin HettermannKona, Hawaii — We were the last guests of the evening at a campfire like no other. It was pitch black when we emerged to flashlights waving us back to our vessel, and as the final few boats brought their nightly activities to a close, we reluctantly came out of the water. A moment before, I had been surrounded by a dense school of Āholehole (Hawaiian flagtail), their mass producing a strobe-like effect that created the feeling of being on a crowded dance floor. Just below me, two mantas were doing barrel rolls just feet from my body, and another dozen circled the vicinity. What if they came a few feet closer and lifted me out of the water?…
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Protect the Critically Endangered Goliath Grouper from Killing in Florida

In the earlier part of the last century, Atlantic goliath groupers were abundant from Florida to Brazil and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. If you have been lucky enough to be in the water with these creatures, then you appreciate their unflappable personality and awe-inspiring size, which reaches up to 8 feet and 1,000 pounds. The goliath grouper has no natural predators besides large sharks and humans. We are writing with regards to the latter. Goliath groupers reached commercial extinction in the late 1980s. For this reason, in 1990 a federal and state ban on killing them was implemented for U.S. federal waters and state waters of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, followed by a 1993 ban in the U.S.…
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Finding New Homes Won’t Help Emperor Penguins Cope with Climate Change

Mission Blue is a proud supporter of the WHOI emperor penguin study in collaboration with WHOI and The French National Research Agency!If projections for melting Antarctic sea ice through 2100 are correct, the vanishing landscape will strip Emperor penguins of their breeding and feeding grounds and put populations at risk.  But like other species that migrate to escape the wrath of climate change, can these iconic animals be spared simply by moving to new locations? According to new research led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), they cannot. Scientists report that dispersal may help sustain global Emperor penguin populations for a limited time, but, as sea ice conditions continue to deteriorate, the 54 colonies that exist today will face devastating declines by the end of this century.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle