Marine Conservation Institute has a lot to celebrate this holiday season as 2015 comes to a close. This year saw more area of the planet protected than any other time in history. In 2015, implemented marine protection increased by nearly 300,000 square kilometers and proposed marine protection increased by about 2.4 million square kilometers. In a time when our oceans face immense pressure from overfishing, climate change and pollution, strong marine protection is desperately needed to ensure healthy oceans for us and future generations.
We bring to you the 12 days of “Fishmas”, a celebration of 2015’s monumental marine protection advancements!
3. On the third day of Fishmas, we celebrate the first Hope Spot in the Mediterranean. This past November Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, named the Balearic Islands a Hope Spot– a special place worth safeguarding as a marine protected area for its significance to the health of the Mediterranean Sea. Marine protection in the Balearic Islands now reaches 49,000 hectares in total (18% of Spain’s inland waters).
2. One the second day of Fishmas, we celebrate two new proposed National Marine Sanctuaries in Maryland and Lake Michigan covering 2,302 square kilometers. Announced by President Barack Obama at the Our Ocean conference in Chile, these two protected areas are the first to be identified by NOAA for possible designation under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act in over a decade.
1. On the first day of Fishmas, we celebrate Cuba and the United State’s collaborative marine protected area program to foster conservation and understanding of shared natural marine resources in both countries. This cooperative program will initially focus on Gauanahacabibes National Park, Bank of San Antonio, the Florida Keys, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuaries and possibly others.
Today’s cover photo credit: Dr. Sylvia Earle diving in the El Toro marine reserve off the coast of Mallorca, Spain. Photo © Kip Evans for Mission Blue