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Hope Spot - Ascension Island: protect seabirds

About Hope Spot - Ascension Island: protect seabirds
Ascension Island lies in the middle of the rich equatorial waters of the South Atlantic, around 1,600 kilometers from the coast of Africa and 2,250 kilometers from the coast of South America. The island is the peak of a huge undersea volcano, which rises up from the seafloor just to the west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The most important seabird breeding station in the tropical Atlantic, the island holds the world population of the endemic Ascension frigatebird and almost half a million sooty terns. Ascension’s waters meanwhile harbor globally important marine biodiversity, home to the second-largest green sea turtle breeding population in the entire Atlantic (also the biggest green turtles ever recorded). The inshore marine environment is in relatively pristine condition, having never been exposed to commercial fisheries. The black triggerfish (Melichthys niger) is so abundant in the coastal marine environment that it is difficult for researchers to survey more cryptic species that may be new to science. Hawksbill sea turtles, resident bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales live and breed near shore as well. Farther offshore are important populations of tuna, swordfish and marlin. The isolated nature of Ascension has also lead to the evolution of unique and highly vulnerable species, with two tiny rock pools behind Shelly Beach being the only known habitat for two species of shrimp, as well as clusters of unique globular alga and endemic coral. Long-line fisheries exploited Ascension Island between 2010-2013, but have since been closed as a new Director of Fisheries develops policies for the sustainable management of its exclusive economic zone.
About Mission Blue
Mission Blue is an initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance to ignite public support for the protection of Hope Spots through the creation of a global network of marine protected areas to safeguard 20% of the ocean by 2020.