Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Some of these Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need defined protection. About 12% of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks, world heritage sites, monuments, etc.), while less than three percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Mission Blue is committed to changing this. Networks of marine protected areas maintain healthy biodiversity, provide a carbon sink, generate life-giving oxygen, preserve critical habitat and allow low-impact activities like ecotourism to thrive. They are good for the ocean, which means they are good for us. We are often asked, “How much protection is enough?” We can only answer with another question: How much of your heart is worth protecting?
The Central Arctic Ocean, The White Shark Café and Ascension Island are among the new areas added recently 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.”
"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.”