“The ocean, as a system and our life support, 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.” – Sylvie Earle, Oceanographer and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) patron
Hope spots were developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Mission Blue as a project that works to help save our oceans. Hope spots are specified areas in the ocean that have been identified by experts as significant in the fight to save our oceans. Hope Spots initiatives are championed by local conservationists and supported by Mission Blue’s access to communications, expeditions and scientific advisory.The International Union for Conservation of Nature wants hope spots to be a step towards scaling up marine protection and supporting sustainable development of the ocean, while getting everyone (you included) involved!
So what makes an area viable as a “Hope Spot?” A few main features qualify specific areas as Hope Spots- but mainly those that have a special characteristic- such as an abundance or diversity of species, and endangered or unusual species, habitats or ecosystems. Furthermore, protecting certain Hope Spots can actually reverse the effects of negative human impacts. For example, a site that is able to flourish with adequate protection, while increasing animal and plant populations can actually benefit a wider area in the ocean, increasing diversity and ecosystem sustainability!
Currently, less than 6% of the ocean is protected. While Marine Protected Areas cover roughly 5% of the ocean, only 2.5% of those MPA’s are actually protected. Many have loose regulations, with little to no surveillance- defeating the point of establishing an MPA in the first place! As a result, Mission Blue’s Hope Spots initiative aims to do two things:
- Plan for the future of marine protected areas, beyond already established MPA’s
- Encourage further protection of existing MPA’s where more action is needed
While ocean conservation often seems beyond India, this is no longer the case. India has two famously diverse groups of islands- the Andamans and Lakshadweep, which have both made it to the top 50 list of hope spots with the potential of significant aquatic change!
The Hope Spots initiative brings YOU into the equation. Anybody can nominate a special site, a site that gives you hope! Policy change starts with you- hope spots do as well.
Special thanks to Umeed Mistry, Reef Watch, and WCS-India for allowing us to use there wonderful images for this site