PUERTO AYORA, Ecuador--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amid news that the Earth’s oceans warmed at a rate eight times faster than in the preceding decades, the protection of marine life has never been more critical. Mission Blue Founder and National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is joining Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso on the signing of an official decree enhancing the marine protected area (MPA) around the Galápagos Archipelago in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean as a positive step in addressing climate change.
The decree will expand protection by 60,000 square kilometers (23,166 square miles); half of which will be fully protected where no extractive activities are allowed. The new protected area known as La Hermandad, “the sisterhood,” will extend to the maritime border of Costa Rica offering an opportunity for multinational cooperation to manage marine life like sharks, sea turtles, and whales which migrate across countries waters.
This action serves as a major step forward on a promise made last year by President Lasso along with the Presidents of Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama to work together to protect the Eastern Tropical Pacific “seascape.” If successful, linking up marine protections across the four countries' waters would be a first of its kind and would safeguard migratory marine species across their range while further protecting the region's waters.
Dr. Earle and Max Bello, Global Ocean Policy Advisor for Mission Blue, attended the ceremony at the invitation of the President. Throughout the week, they visited with community leaders, met with members of the Ecuadorian government, and celebrated the exciting announcement by diving together with partners in one of the world’s most iconic marine ecosystems.
“Bravo to President Lasso, and all who are supporting enhanced protection for wildlife in the ocean surrounding the Galápagos Islands,” Earle states. “The Galápagos Archipelago is a wellspring of life, supporting a wide array of iconic marine species that, for too long, have lived under threat just beyond the Archipelago’s protected coasts. Today, Ecuador has given us a victory worth celebrating by expanding this sanctuary and will now ensure better protection for marine life.”
“The government of Ecuador is providing massive Hope in the waters of Galápagos in the form of a new MPA,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Managing Director, Mission Blue. He elaborates, “Galápagos is a beacon of Hope in the Pacific Ocean and its new MPA is also inspiring other nations to meet their 30X30 targets.”
Mission Blue recognizes their partners in this work: The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Program (PBOL), for their global leadership in advancing highly and fully protected marine areas, MigraMar for providing scientific and technical expertise underpinning the enhanced protections, SeaLegacy/OnlyOne for their collaboration with us to enhance communications capacity, draw international attention to the need to protect the Galápagos and maintain momentum surrounding Ecuador’s conservation advancements, and Mas Galápagos, a collection of local NGOs and partners including Island Conservation who worked together with Mission Blue and PBOL on the expansion.
ABOUT MISSION BLUE
Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots.
Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team implements communications campaigns that elevate Hope Spots to the world stage through documentaries, social media, traditional media and innovative tools like Esri ArcGIS. Mission Blue also embarks on regular oceanic expeditions that shed light on these vital ecosystems and build support for their protection.
Currently, the Mission Blue alliance includes more than 200 respected ocean conservation groups and like-minded organizations, from large multinational companies to individual scientific teams doing important research.
Additionally, Mission Blue supports the work of conservation NGOs that share the mission of building public support for ocean protection. With the concerted effort and passion of people and organizations around the world, Hope Spots can become a reality and form a global network of marine protected areas large enough to restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.
ABOUT DR. SYLVIA EARLE
Sylvia Earle is President and Chairman of Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance. She is a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, and is called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine. She is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for several corporate and non-profit organizations.