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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 Rumney Great 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 Hettermann Kona, 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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How Can Indonesia’s Coral Reefs Resist Climate Change?

Indonesia’s 17,000 islands are among the richest in the Coral Triangle. Conservationist Drew Harvell plunged into some of its best Marine Protected Areas to check the health and vitality of Indonesian reefs and here’s what she found… By: Drew Harvell As I awoke to the sounds of the mullahs’ calls for morning prayer in Makassar, Sulawesi Island,  I pondered barriers being crossed in my research project: cultural, gender and even scientific. Our goal is to save the spectacular biodiversity of Indonesia’s seas, which is threatened by an unholy trinity of coastal pollution, climate change and habitat destruction. We are working on coral reefs, which are the most biodiverse marine habitats. And Indonesia, within the Coral Triangle, is the beating heart of that diversity.…
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Good News For Coral Reefs On Vamizi Island

By: Raphaelle Flint, IUCN With constant news of climate change causing coral reef bleaching or dieback, good news is hard to come by. A rare success story can be found on the island of Vamizi off the east coast of Africa, where cool currents, and local conservation efforts supported by IUCN, protect coral reefs from the effects of climate change. Spawning coral. Image: Erwan Sola We are in the midst of a third global bleaching event, now considered the longest and most widespread in recorded history. Mass bleaching happens when global warming-induced elevated sea surface temperatures cause stress to corals and if over a long enough time, mass die-offs. Indeed, in parts of the Indian Ocean, bleaching has affected coral by 60-90%.…
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FORCE BLUE: A Call of Duty to Heal the Ocean

By: Laura Butz I recently had the honor of meeting U.S RECON Marine Sergeant Rudy Reyes who shared his story about being a former combat diver who’s now on a mission to help protect and restore the ocean.  I cannot truly capture in words how profound his story is or the eloquent way he spoke about his life’s journey.  Nor, can I begin to fathom the magnitude of his experience as a combat diver.  All I can humbly offer is listening to him speak with such humility and passion, I was incredibly moved and a part of me is changed forever.  Rudy’s new call of duty is empowering other Special Ops veterans to join FORCE BLUE’s conservation efforts to help restore critical marine ecosystems around the world.  …
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Hope from Brazil: Verde Mar Project Joins Mission Blue

Mission Blue is proud to partner with Verde Mar Project! By: Caio Salles One of the most important spots for tourism in Brazil is the Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro. It’s part of a Conservation Unity called Monumento Natural dos Morros da Urca e Pão de Açúcar. Just below it, there is a small pearl called “Praia Vermelha,” or Red Beach, which is amongst the last beaches with good water quality in Rio’s central area. The adjoining bay is a nursery for several marine species and home for many green sea turtles.   Despite being part of a conservation area, Praia Vermelha faces a serious problem: the huge quantity of underwater debris. To address the situation, Verde Mar Project congregated scuba divers to collect and analyze waste accumulating in the ocean.…
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Hokulea Will Return Home After Sailing 40,000 Nautical Miles Around the Globe

On Saturday, June 17, Hokulea (Hōkūle‘a) and its crew members will make their historic return to Hawaii after sailing more than 40,000 nautical miles around the globe! According to Mission Blue partner, the Polynesian Voyaging Society,  “The mission of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage is to weave a lei of hope around the world through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives while learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the Island Earth.” Image: Polynesian Voyaging Society The voyage began in May 2014 when Hokuleah departed from O’ahu and sailed with a fleet of seven deep-sea voyaging canoes from Hawaii, Tahiti, and New Zealand. The homecoming celebration honors the multicultural journey and connection with people all over the world. …
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