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Blue Parks Network Grows & Inspires

At Marine Conservation Institute’s 25th Anniversary Gala on December 9th, we announced four new Blue Park Award winners – marine protected areas (MPAs) that have achieved the highest science-based standards for marine life protection. We welcome these four new Blue Parks to the global Blue Parks network, designed to protect and regenerate our ocean’s biodiversity.

A total of 21 MPAs around the world representing roughly 1.8 million sq km of ocean area and spanning 20 countries now hold the prestigious Blue Park Award, which recognizes outstanding efforts by governments, MPA managers, and local community members to effectively safeguard marine ecosystems. The award elevates these success stories and motivates others to strive for strong and effective MPAs. Blue Park Awards support international progress towards the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Target 11, UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, and the longer-term goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.

Since news of the awards dropped, our new Blue Parks are celebrating!

Photo: Courtesy of Kenya Wildlife Service

“We are delighted that Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park and Reservehas been designated a Blue Park. As Kenya Wildlife Service, we would like to thank all of our dedicated staff, local community, and partners for making Kisite a beacon of hope for marine conservation. This award only serves as motivation for us to work even harder to make Kisite a sustainable MPA that benefits both nature and humanity” – Paul Wambi, Warden of Kisite-Mpunguti

Read local coverage of Kisite-Mpunguti’s award:

Photo: Noel Lopez

“At Flora and Fauna we are honored to receive this Blue Park recognition for Jardines de la Reina National Park, our flagship marine protected area in Cuba. And this honor comes with a greater commitment to increasing the park’s conservation achievements, improving our management capacity and effectiveness to meet and, if possible, exceed, the highest science-based standards of Blue Parks.” -Gabriel Brull-Puebla, Conservation Director of Cuba’s Flora & Fauna Business Group

Read coverage of Jardines de la Reina’s Award in Spanish:

In English:

And check out Cuban Ambassador to the US, Lianys Torres Rivera’s Tweet:

Photo: Courtesy of Brijuni National Park

“It is a great honor [for Brijuni National Park] to receive the Blue Park Award that puts MPAs in the ‘spotlight’, recognizes their achievements ‘on the ground’ and encourages them to become even more effective in ocean conservation. This award goes to our staff, communities, partners and stakeholders that make the positive changes possible.” – Marno Milotic, General Manager of Brijuni National Park

Read coverage of Brijuni’s award:

Photo: Erick Higuera

“Being part of the Blue Park MPA Network is an honor and also motivates us [at Revillagigedo National Park] to continue working to improve effective management for the conservation and defense of the species and ecosystems of Mexico and our planet.” – Eréndida Frias Hernández, Director of Revillagigedo National Park

Read coverage of Revillagigedo’s award:

And follow the celebration on Twitter and on Instagram.

Welcome to a new Blue Spark

Last Thursday we also welcomed a new Blue Spark to the Blue Parks network: Coiba National Park. Blue Sparks are MPA projects on their way to earning Blue Park Awards. The Institute collaborates with ocean leaders who are planning and improving MPAs, using the Blue Parks criteria as the blueprints for a better protected ocean.

“For Panama it is an honor that Coiba National Park is now a Blue Spark, to become a Blue Park, reaffirming Panama’s commitment to ensure the conservation of coastal marine resources.” – Shirley Binder, National Director of Protected Areas and Biodiversity of the Ministry of Environment of Panama

Photo: Courtesy of the Ministry of the Environment of Panama

These Blue Park Award announcements went live at our 25th Anniversary Gala, where ocean-lovers from around the world gathered for a virtual celebration of all that Marine Conservation Institute has accomplished, and all that still lies ahead if we are to achieve 30% protection of the ocean by 2030. The coming year will be the Year of Blue Parks – and your support will help us grow this life-giving network of fully and highly protected marine reserves, before it’s too late.

If you missed our 25th Anniversary Gala, watch it here!