Why we need to support Mission Blue

The world’s oceans are in deep, deep trouble.

Every day, they absorb 22 million tons of carbon dioxide from factories, cars, power plants and other human sources, leading to ocean acidification. This frightening phenomenon makes seawater more acidic, spelling disaster for many marine animals, from plankton and coral up the food chain to sea stars, salmon, sea otters, whales — and ultimately people, who rely on the oceans for food.
Think about it. Every day sees reports of catastrophic animal die-offs in the American Pacific. The Great Barrier Reef has suffered the worst coral die-off ever, with more than two-thirds of it dying due to stress from unusually warm ocean water heated by climate change. And our seas are quite literally choked with garbage.
Did you know, for example, that after you throw a plastic bottle in the ocean, it takes 450 years to decompose? A soda can takes 200 years, a disposable nappy 400 years and a plastic grocery bag a mere 5 to 10 years.
But climate change, garbage and pollution aren’t the only things turning our beautiful beaches, islands and corals into just a memory. There’s also intensive fishing and lack of protection for endangered species.
We believe that with human rights come human responsibilities. And one of the most basic of these is to protect the oceans. The oceans brought this planet to life, yet we have brought the oceans to the brink of death. Surely, for the future of the planet itself, no rational human being can stand by and allow this to happen?
That’s why we support the work of Mission Blue by donating 3.5% of every booking made through our website.

The oceans need every ounce of support, every penny, every dollar of donations we can give them. With appalling exploitation and ignorance at every turn, there’s a desperate need to fight against some of the most dangerous risks to marine life in the history of this planet.
As part of their valuable work, Mission Blue are passionate advocates for Hope Spots - special places that are critical to the health of the ocean and give cause for hope once protected and restored.
A concept introduced by Mission Blue founder, Dr. Sylvia Earle in her 2009 TED talk, Hope Spots have since inspired millions around the world to help preserve and protect a rich diversity of marine life. This global community (made up of both individuals and organisations) nominate marine environments especially worthy of preservation for review by Mission Blue and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). After rigorous scientific vetting and policy analysis, Mission Blue and IUCN then announce which areas will be designated Hope Spots.
The ultimate aim is the creation of a global network of marine protected areas large enough to restore the ocean’s health, to bring about a significant increase in ocean protection from less than 4% today to more than 20% by the year 2020.
So far, Mission Blue has designated 73 Hope Spots around the world and more are currently under consideration. Each area is remarkable in its own way - perhaps for a huge abundance of species, for an essential ecosystem, or maybe for being a refuge of threatened species. Here are just five of the ecologically important areas that Mission Blue is helping become causes of hope for a healthier ocean:

Ascension Island

A tiny speck of volcanic green in the tropical South Atlantic Ocean, Ascension plays host to a startling array of marine life including bottlenose dolphins, diamond lizardfish, red scorpionfish and green turtles.

The Central Arctic Ocean

The world’s smallest and shallowest ocean, the Central Arctic Ocean has, thanks to the effects of diminishing ice, recently become open to commercial fishing. Without protection, this could threaten wildlife such as ringed seals and beluga whales dependent on the fish, as well as polar bears.

The Coral Triangle

Located in the Pacific, the Coral Triangle is considered to house the richest concentration of marine life on the planet, with 5000 species of clams, snails and mollusks alone. However, without protection, it’s projected that 100% of the reefs in the Triangle will be threatened by 2030.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands

These two groups of coral islands, considered extremely rich in marine biodiversity, are the first places in India to have been declared Hope Spots. Home to over 600 species of marine fishes, 78 species of corals 82 species of seaweed, 52 species of crabs, 2 species of lobsters, 48 species of gastropods, 12 species of bivalves and101 species of birds, the area is vital for sustainable development of the ocean.

Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Cape Hatteras has the highest density and biodiversity of marine life on the entire east coast of America. It’s home to, among others, the spotted sea trout, striped bass, king mackerel, spot fish, flounder, northern and southern kingfish, grey trout, croaker, speckled trout, bluefish, red drum, cobia, and blue and white marlin, tuna, wahoo and mahi mahi, making it a target for commercial fishing and fishing charters and putting it at serious risk of overexploitation.

At Nowboat, we love the oceans that make our adventures possible and want to help protect them. It’s why we’re doing all we can to support organisations like Mission Blue and why, every time someone makes a booking, we ask them to choose an NGO to support and donate money to that NGO from our profits. 
Mission Blue gives us rays of hope. But you, travellers, adventurers, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends, are rays of hope, too. Because by acting now, we can become the change we so desperately need for the future. As the founder of Mission Blue, Dr. Sylvia Earle says, “The next five years may be the most important in the next ten thousand for our planet. There are plenty of reasons for hope, yet every day, doors of opportunity close. We know what to do. Now is the time to act.”
Find out more and ways you can help our oceans prosper at www.mission-blue.org.

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