There is hope for the ocean

23 October 2013 | News story

Thirty one new Hope Spots - places that are critical to the health of the ocean - were announced yesterday by renowned oceanographer and IUCN Patron Sylvia Earle, a global initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance “Mission Blue” and IUCN, with the aim to scale up the marine protection necessary for a sustainable development of the ocean.

A Hope Spot is an area of ocean that merits special protection because of its wildlife and significant underwater habitats. Some are already formally protected, while others still need protection.

The Central Arctic Ocean, The White Shark Café and Ascension Island are among the new areas added yesterday to the 19 Hope Spots that Mission Blue has been working to protect over the last four years.

“What we’ve done here is identify a number of critical areas that represent a real hope to restore the health of our imperiled ocean,” says Sylvia Earle. “The pristine seas, the World Heritage areas, marine sanctuaries, marine protected areas, reserves – whatever they’re called. We started with 19, now the number is 50 but for me there really is just one Hope Spot – it’s the ocean.”

“The ocean as a system, our life-support system, is in trouble and whatever we can do, whether it’s in our community, state or country, region, or in the high seas, we should really respect what the ocean gives us,” says Sylvia Earle. “Not what we can take out of the ocean in terms of pounds of fish, minerals, oil or gas or the fact that we can use the ocean as a dumpsite. What we extract from the ocean that’s most meaningful is our existence. Our job should be to return this favour and keep the ocean alive.”

"Hope Spots are a wonderful network of places around the world which are new to many of us," says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director, IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme. "These are areas that in many ways represent all the amazing things we have in the ocean. This is a great opportunity to really cherish these areas and make sure we take care of them for the next generation.”

The new Hope Spots were announced during the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) currently taking place in Marseille, France. Co-organized by IUCN and the French Marine Protected Areas Agency, IMPAC3 gathers over 1,200 marine specialists and ministers from around the world to propose solutions for the conservation and sustainable development of our oceans.

To find out more and see a map of the Hope Spots please visit the Mission Blue website.


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.