Changing Planet

Bold Plan for 50 Ocean Hope Spots Announced at IMPAC 3


Exciting news has come out of the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC 3): Her Deepness Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue and IUCN have launched 31 new Mission Blue Hope Spots — Marine Protected Areas — across the globe to massively scale up the level of marine protection that experts consider necessary for a sustainable future.

A Hope Spot is an area of ocean that merits special protection because of its wildlife and significant underwater habitats. Each Hope Spot can give the ocean a breathing space from human activities so that it may recover and flourish. Dr. Earle named these areas Hope Spots because they represent a real hope to restore the health of our imperiled ocean.

The 31 new announcements come in addition to the 19 Hope Spots that Mission Blue has worked to protect over the last four years. Click on the thumbnail below to hear about Hope Spots straight from Sylvia.

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When Dr. Earle won the TED Prize in 2009, she implored ocean supporters “to use all means at your disposal – films, the web, expeditions, new submarines, a campaign! – to ignite public support for a network of global marine protected areas, Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.” Click on the thumbnail below to hear the TED talk.

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Today, that dream inches closer to reality as gathered ocean experts at the IMPAC 3 Congress are confronted with this boldest vision to protect the Earth’s Blue Heart, the shimmering global ocean that drives planetary chemistry and sustains all life on the planet. As IMPAC 3 will set the Marine Protected Area agenda for the next few years and tackle issues of management, financing, ecological representativity, local integration and high seas stewardship, the increase to 50 Hope Spots could not be more timely.

We are fortunate to live in ‘a sweet spot in time.’ Now we know what is happening to our fragile blue planet and its ocean, and we also know what steps are needed to change the course we are on. With this message of hope, Mission Blue and IUCN are mobilizing a growing international community of stakeholders to take the urgent action needed to reverse the ocean’s current state of peril while we are still in this special sweet spot in time.


Please support Mission Blue and IUCN to help ignite support for a global network of 50 Marine Protected Areas that can form the seeds of tomorrow’s healthy ocean.

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Brett is the founder of Cut Canvas Creative, a creative agency in San Francisco. Mission Blue is one of his non-profit clients.
  • Sabine Jessen

    It is great to see this attention on new potential MPAs around the world. Thank you to Sylvia and her team. I would point out however, that the Scott Islands are off the coast of British Columbia in Canada and not in the Arctic. Perhaps the map could be corrected as soon as possible. It would be good to know as well what the process is for new sites to be added to the list as there are many other key sites that should receive this international attention.

  • Brett Garling

    Thank you for writing Sabine. You’re right, and we are currently in the process of correcting our Hope Spots map. We will have it on our website asap. FAQs for the Hope Spots, which will include Mission Blue’s criteria, how to suggest sites and more are being worked on as we speak and will be up on in the very near future! ~ BG

  • Francis Laros

    Hi Brett,
    One year later and the Hope Spots Map is still inaccurate and confusing. When I go to the link you posted and open the Hope Spots tab,
    The map of Existing and New Hope Spots does not match the information below under the heading “Existing Hope Spots.”

  • Davin Pilling , know as Comedy Davin on facebook

    I live in the middle the dessert where the Colorado river runs and sing on a stand up paddle to fokes on rafts, i was touched what you showed me on Mission Blue. If you ever need a song on a paddle board to be done i will Volintree my talents.

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