Monthly Archives: October 2015

Global Coral Bleaching Event puts Reefs at Risk

By Courtney Mattison

Researchers announced this month that a massive global coral bleaching event is jeopardizing the health of coral reefs around the world, and the crisis is still heating up. A triple threat of climate change, El Niño and a climate change-induced “warm blob” in the Pacific is causing the ocean to reach unusually high temperatures, stressing the coral animals that build reefs—the cradles of tropical marine life—and causing them to bleach, a stress response that often causes corals to starve, sicken and die. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have gathered evidence suggesting that about 12% of reefs worldwide have already bleached in the last year, and predict that nearly half of those affected (over 12,000 square kilometers, or over 5% of reefs) could disappear forever.…

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Monaco to Host an Ecosystem of Ocean All-Stars at BLUE 2015 Prior to COP 21

The BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit is coming up in Monaco November 7-9, and Mission Blue founder Dr. Sylvia Earle will be a keynote speaker!

Founded in 2009, BLUE has become internationally renowned for its unique ability to inspire public passion for ocean conservation and spark important discussions among world leaders in ocean science, conservation and exploration. It has since become a major international platform for professional development among industry leaders, students, artists, and marine enthusiasts. Advanced ocean technologies are showcased in concert with inspiring films, celebrity appearances, and an amazing and diverse collection of other related venues. Monaco became the second home of BLUE in 2013 when a strategic partnership was announced with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the oceanographic Museum of Monaco.…

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Regulators Empower Fishing Interests in the Bering Sea Hope Spot

We bring sad news today. At a recent meeting in Alaska, fishing regulators voted to kill the Bering Sea Initiative, which sought to bring protection from trawling to vast deep-water canyons that contained 50-85% of all the coral in the region. In partnership with Greenpeace, the Mission Blue community had petitioned the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) for years to consider the clear scientific evidence provided to them and make commonsense protections for the Bering Sea canyons. Their own scientists even concurred, specifically pointing out Pribilof canyon as a coral hot spot in the Bering Sea. Still, the Council rejected science, supported the fishing industry and trawling remains open for business in waters that contain cascading ridges of centuries-old corals, sea sponges and a host of other marine life – a silent, slow-motion underwater tragedy.…

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GEEC-ing out at Girls Underwater Robot Camp

By Courtney Mattison

When it comes to women’s education these days, opportunities abound—especially to get young women interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). As of 2013, only about 25% of American STEM degree holders were women, but universities, nonprofits and the White House alike are working hard to change that by introducing programs and incentives aimed at inspiring girls and women to pursue careers in STEM fields. One especially exciting new organization is called Global Engineering & Exploration Counselors (GEECs). Founded by National Geographic Young Explorer and submarine pilot Erika Bergman and marine science and technology communicator and educator Samantha Wishnak, GEECs is creating opportunities for teenage girls to explore the ocean (and their interests in STEM) using underwater robots, also known as remotely operated vehicles or ROVs.…

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Marine Protection in the Spotlight at Our Ocean Conference

By Courtney Mattison Hope was in the air during this week’s Our Ocean Conference in Valparaiso, Chile, where over 400 government leaders, researchers and ocean conservation advocates gathered for two days to make and support commitments to protect marine biodiversity. Seeking solutions to illegal fishing, marine plastic pollution, ocean acidification and climate change, Our Ocean 2015 focused on encouraging the use of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a tool to regulate harmful human activities that threaten ocean health.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet led the way in announcing the establishment of the Nazca-Desventuradas marine park—which will cover a surface area of more than 297,000 square kilometers (over 114,000 square miles) surrounding the San Ambrosio and San Felix islands—and a commitment to create a second marine protected area encompassing over 600,000 square kilometers around Easter Island.…

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