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Six marine conservation projects awarded Blue Parks Small Grants

[Seattle, USA, 13 October 2023] – Today, Marine Conservation Institute and Blue announce six inaugural recipients of Blue Parks Small Grants. These grants were awarded to projects that will improve marine protected areas (MPAs) and enhance their conservation outcomes. All six grant recipients are members of the Blue Parks Network and committed to safeguarding important places in the ocean for future generations. The 2023 Blue Parks Small Grant recipients are:

Misool Marine Reserve (Indonesia)

In Misool Marine Reserve, a pilot project will test a Tourism Management System to ensure visitor numbers do not exceed the scientific guidance on the amount that is sustainable for its fragile coral reef ecosystems. If the pilot project is a success, it will be rolled out across the whole Raja Ampat MPA Network which also earned Blue Park status.

Apo Reef Natural Park (Philippines)

At Apo Reef Natural Park, the grant will support enhanced water quality monitoring to inform management decisions and ensure good water quality to protect the coral reefs in the park.

Piedra del Viento Sanctuary (Chile)

Fundacion Rompientes, a Chilean organization that facilitated the establishment of the community-led Piedra del Viento Sanctuary, will launch an environmental education program with a mobile classroom that will be deployed to local communities and coastal areas with high visitation, improving public engagement and stewardship.

Old Providence-McBean Lagoon National Natural Park (Colombia)

At Old Providence-McBean Lagoon, a community cleanup program will improve mangrove conservation within the park. The mangroves support high biodiversity, act as natural barriers to flooding and storm damage, and play the vital role of capturing carbon.

Chumbe Island Coral Park (Tanzania)

Chumbe Island Coral Park will improve the monitoring program that supports the conservation management of its vital coral reefs. New data collection equipment will help managers better understand climate change impacts and inform the creation of a new MPA buffer zone.

Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park & Reserve (Kenya)

Kisite-Mpunguti aims to enhance community stewardship of the MPA by improving signage and navigation aids, educating boat operators, empowering women’s groups to plant mangrove seedlings, and holding community engagement clean-up events.

Dr. Sarah Hameed, Director of the Blue Parks initiative at Marine Conservation Institute, expressed excitement about the selected projects, stating, "We are inspired by the passion and dedication of these grant recipients. Their projects exemplify the vital work being done to safeguard marine ecosystems. We look forward to collaborating with them and amplifying their successes."

The Blue Parks Small Grants program, which aims to encourage innovations and upgrades to improve MPA conservation outcomes, is committed to ongoing collaboration with these recipients as part of Marine Conservation Institute’s larger Blue Parks initiative to safeguard marine biodiversity. The initiative sets a global standard for MPA quality with the Blue Park Award criteria, incentivizes governments and managers to achieve the standard with annual awards, and supports efforts to improve marine conservation outcomes through Blue Spark collaborations.

For more information about Blue Parks, please visit https://marine-conservation.org/blueparks/.

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About Blue Parks

Blue Park Awards were established by Marine Conservation Institute to encourage high quality marine protected areas (MPAs) that safeguard marine wildlife, secure critical habitats, promote resilience, and ensure the inspiring beauty of our oceans for future generations. The effort aims to assemble an effective network that sustains marine life and ecosystems globally. MPAs that meet science-based criteria for conservation effectiveness earn Blue Park Awards – there are currently 27 MPAs that have earned the distinction.

In addition to awarding new Blue Parks, Marine Conservation Institute has launched collaborations — Blue Sparks — with groups planning new MPAs and upgrading existing MPAs in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Panama, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mozambique, and the Philippines to ensure their efforts result in future Blue Parks.

The Blue Parks initiative is endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (UN Ocean Decade).

About Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute, founded in 1996, works in the U.S. and globally to seek strong protection for at least 30% of the ocean by 2030—for us and future generations. Our focus on protecting the ocean’s most important places follows several lines of work: identifying and advocating for strong marine protected areas; improving laws and other tools to better conserve marine biodiversity; catalyzing effective conservation by recognizing and elevating the best marine protected areas as Blue Parks; and accurately reporting on global conservation efforts with our Marine Protection Atlas (MPAtlas.org).

Contacts:

Dr. Sarah Hameed, Senior Scientist & Blue Parks Director
Marine Conservation Institute, USA
Sarah.Hameed@marine-conservation.org
+1 707 242 1997 mobile

Dr. Lance Morgan, President
Marine Conservation Institute, USA
Lance.Morgan@marine-conservation.org
+1 707 217 8242 mobile

Press Kit (map, images, logos, background): https://marine-conservation.box.com/s/e1vbxgk7vnfhrh3v4p8bcfo9weswmhka