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Mission Blue Names Newest Hope Spot off Lesbos Island in Greece

Lesbos is an historical Greek Island, home to important ancient personalities like poet Sappho, a way-station between the Aegean and Black Seas, as well as a modern crossroad used by migratory birds and a focal point of the European humanitarian crisis. On the north coast of Lesbos in the waters off the village of Petra, lies a marine area called Avlaki that boasts magnificent assemblages of aquatic birds, marine mammals and vibrant reefs in an impressive volcanic environment. As in most of the Aegean, fishing and other human impacts over the centuries have degraded the marine environment. Yet, the area still shimmers with life and attracts eco-tourists from around the globe. In concert with the Our Ocean Conference gathering happening now in nearby Malta, Mission Blue is thrilled to announce our newest Hope Spot at Avlaki, Lesbos Island, Greece!…
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Coral is an Animal: Weaving the Threads of Art and Science

By: Sasha Solis Sikaffy, Diverse Divers ProductionAnima mundi –the amazing interconnectivity of life on earth- was the inspiration for Diverse Divers. The catalyst was coral, the giver of life and fertility of the oceans. For photosynthetic coral, the experience of sunlight is the encounter with the ultimate reality; light is connected with the beginning and the end. This relation conveys the same cosmic reality as the human’s quest to reach the light and attain the centre.  Such splendor of enlightenment is the stuff of life that combines the cold blue light of the intellect with the emotional warmth of the earthly sun. Diverse Divers is the bringer of power through art: the tool of tools to excite, express and wonder.…
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Tuna Fishing is Threatening the Pristine Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia

This just in from our partners at The Pew Charitable TrustsMarquesas people have worked for about 10 years on a large MPA project in their waters, with a 100,000km² sustainable fishing area for local boats (less than 12 meters) around the islands and at least 200,000km² strict protection offshore (out of the 700,000km² of Marquesas waters). After several commitments at the international level, the government of French Polynesia stepped back on this project last year. And earlier this year, local investors announced the future acquisition of 100 tuna boats to fish in Marquesas, targeting big eye tuna (already threatened with an 84% biomass loss). Local investors are presumably helped by Chinese investors. They also receive a 70% of public subsidy from the local government for the construction of the boats (already 5 boats financed this year with a 8 million USD public support).…
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What do you get when passion and private enterprise collide? A story of love, hope and the world’s richest reefs

The Mission Blue Council has just named the Misool Marine Reserve in South Raja Ampat, Indonesia as a Mission Blue Hope Spot. Misool is a shining beacon of hope inside the Coral Triangle, the most biodiverse marine ecosystem in the world. Here’s Misool’s story about how conservation and tourism can be the perfect marriage… Back in 2005, when Raja Ampat was visited only by a handful of daring divers aboard their pirate-esque Phinisi schooners, Marit Miners and her future husband Andrew spent their third date, which lasted nearly a month, diving Misool’s undiscovered reefs. They explored the region’s maze of karst outcroppings and rugged islets.  During a surface interval between dives, the pair stumbled upon a secret beach which was home to an itinerant shark finning camp, clearly contributing to the estimated 100 million sharks killed each year to supply the shark fin soup trade.…
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Turning the Tide on Plastics in the Mediterranean

by Courtney MattisonAt first glance, the cove of Cala Figuera in Mallorca’s Bay of Palma looks like a Mediterranean paradise, with sun-kissed boulders tumbling into glittering turquoise water. Take a closer look at its beach, however, and you will discover that instead of sand, it is comprised of heaps of plastic. Snarls of Posidonia seagrass tangle with plastic straws, fishing line, drink cups and syringes. Thousands of tiny plastic sticks from cotton swabs and lollipops are strewn like confetti across the beach. Dig into the top layer of sun-bleached plastic rubble and you will discover a rainbow of bottle caps, toys, tile spacers, cigarette butts and microplastics at least a meter thick. “We’ve actually come on a good day and the sea is relatively clean,” said Brad Robertson, Founder and President of Asociación Ondine, a nonprofit ocean conservation organization based in Mallorca, Spain.…
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Destacada oceanógrafa Sylvia Earle bucea en la Reserva Nacional Pingüino de Humboldt y llama a las autoridades a protegerla

This content La bióloga marina y reconocida conservacionista, Sylvia Earle buceó en las aguas de la Reserva Nacional Pingüino de Humboldt aprovechando su asistencia al Cuarto Congreso Internacional de Áreas Marinas Protegidas, IMPAC4, que se realiza en Coquimbo. En la visita, Earle compartió con buzos locales, quienes le mostraron las maravillas naturales de uno de los lugares más ricos del mundo en términos de biodiversidad. ©CÉSAR VILLARROEL “Quisimos invitar a Sylvia para mostrarle la importancia de preservar este lugar y compartir con ella el trabajo que hemos realizado para protegerlo”, señaló César Villarroel, documentalitsta y capitán del Centro de Buceo Explorasub, organizador de la visita de Earle. “Nuestra meta es impulsar el turismo sustentable, aprovechando que este lugar es un laboratorio natural de interés tanto para científicos como para el público en general y que se amplien las zonas de protección para todas las islas del Archipielago Humboldt”, añadió.…
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Citizen Scientists Nurture the Moreton Bay Hope Spot

The power of the people that helped to secure Hope Spot designation for Moreton Bay Marine Park in 2016 continues to build on that strong stewardship legacy. In 2017, citizen scientists have been collecting important information on the habitats and wildlife across beautiful Moreton Bay/Quandamooka including topics from mangroves to manta rays. These efforts complement the knowledge and care provided for tens of thousands of years by the traditional owners of the region, and is increasingly important with the rapidly growing population in this unique region. UniDive Citizen Scientist trained in Reef check and Coral Watch survey techniques just returned from another successful survey at Flinders Reef. “Citizen scientists provide not only data, but hope. The commitment to collecting high-quality information to help care for this unique place and its wildlife demonstrates how the community can play a truly important and influential role in science-based stewardship,” said Jennifer Loder, Reef Check Australia.…
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Earth Law Center Brings Legal Firepower to Mission Blue Hope Spots

Guest Post by the Earth Law CenterEarth Law Center (ELC) is honored to be joining the Mission Blue team as a partner. We are inspired to complement and support Mission Blue’s commitment to expand ocean protection by transforming the law to recognize and protect the rights of nature by catalyzing the growing Earth Law movement. Earth Law recognizes the interconnectedness between humans and nature, and asserts that if humans have inherent rights due to their existence, so too do ecosystems and fellow species.  Fundamental legal rights have played a critical role in the ongoing evolution of society, as previously legal “things” became legal persons. Just as human rights drew a line in the sand to curtail our abuse of other humans, the securing of fundamental legal rights for nature will support and enhance ongoing efforts to ensure nature exists, thrives and evolves. …
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Olowalu Reef Is Announced as the First Hawaiian Hope Spot!

Photo Credit (c) Pauline FieneMission 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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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle