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Marine Life & Conservation

Inhambane Seascape in Mozambique Recognized as Mission Blue Hope Spot

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Mission Blue has declared the Inhambane Seascape a Hope Spot in recognition of the spatial planning work being done in the area to develop a network of marine protected areas (MPA) in the surrounding waters. Founded 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.” Mission Blue acknowledges the Marine Megafauna Foundation and their partners’ work assisting the government of Mozambique as they strive to meet the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to formally protect 30% of its marine resources by 2030.

Dr. Sylvia Earle says, “Mozambique as a country has already taken significant actions to safeguard the extraordinarily rich, highly important life along the coastline. Everything is on the line. There’s an opportunity now to significantly scale up and embrace those areas that are already protected with a larger area along the coast that connects the land with the ocean beyond. I particularly want to salute Andrea Marshall and her team at the Marine Megafauna Foundation⁠—they work with so many large creatures that are so important and so threatened. We’re on the edge of losing them forever unless action is taken now.”

The coastline of the Inhambane Province in southern Mozambique is well-known around the world for its thriving biodiversity. The area is rated by the IUCN as a globally outstanding marine conservation area and acknowledged as a potential World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is a wild and expansive area that holds immense ecological value, extraordinary beauty, and incalculable natural heritage. For Dr. Andrea Marshall, local conservation biologist and Co-Founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), it is her life mission to see the coastline comprehensively protected.

Marshall has spent 20 years in Mozambique and has dedicated her life to supporting the conservation of endangered marine megafauna species. Our overarching goal is to use science to underpin the comprehensive management of the protected areas that currently exist and provide justification for the expansion of those areas and new adjoining areas along the coastline,” she explains.

A plethora of large iconic marine megafauna species live off of southern Mozambique. The Inhambane Seascape is described as an important region in Africa for creatures like manta rays, whale sharks, dugong, and critically endangered wedgefish species. Five species of sea turtles and numerous species of cetaceans use provincial waters and a number of rare and understudied species also inhabit coastal waters, particularly sharks and rays.

“The marine species and habitats of the Inhambane Province are critically important, and extremely fragile. Without relentless research, community advocacy, and international coordination, heavy industry might have already destroyed the unique ecosystems of southern Mozambique. Dr. Marshall, her team at MMF, and community partners have been extremely effective in conducting much needed baselines of ecosystem health, lobbying for the protection of key areas, and building coalitions to oppose harmful industrial practices such as seismic testing for oil and gas. Mission Blue’s Hope Spot designation is yet another wonderful step in the right direction toward encouraging the more sustainable management of this region and the development of responsible tourism models,” says Tiffany Schauer, executive director of the Our Children’s Earth Foundation.

For more information about the Marine Megafauna Foundation click here

For more information about Mission Blue click here


Header image: Dr Andrea Marshall

Marine Life & Conservation

PADI and Circular Flow Partner to Pursue Sustainable Neoprene Recycling Programme

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Trial Launches in the UK to Prove Feasibility and Scalability

PADI® is bringing about positive change for our shared blue planet through their partnership with Circular Flow. The goal is to create a closed loop neoprene recycling programme to foster a dive economy that aims to reduce the global impact of old and discarded wetsuits within the dive industry.

An estimated 8,380 tons of old wetsuits lie unused every year, with the majority inevitably headed for landfill thanks to the popularity of thermal protection in water sports, coupled with the lack of scalable, sustainable recycling systems for neoprene.

Recognising the opportunity for innovation, PADI, in partnership with Circular Flow, aims to offer the dive industry effective and sustainable solutions to the problem of disposing of wetsuits and other non-biodegradable neoprene products. The goal is to keep them out of landfills and recycle them into useful products such as mask straps and changing mats. To ensure feasibility and determine global scalability, the initiative will begin with a test in the UK.

“PADI is committed to help reduce the global environmental footprint of the dive industry and support our members and divers to reduce impact as well,” says Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. “We are constantly looking for new and scalable ways to do so through our Mission Hubs across the planet. We are proud to introduce and test this ground-breaking recycling programme into our community, enabling every diver to recycle neoprene as part of being an Ocean Torchbearer.”

During the initial trial, divers can bring their clean and dry wet suits and other neoprene items to participating UK Dive Centres from August 11th – August 22nd. PADI and Circular Flow will then arrange for the free collection of the items for recycling.  Circular Flow will implement an innovative process to recycle the neoprene, after shipping the neoprene to a specialised factory. The patented recycling process eliminates the use of chemicals or water and utilising electricity, pressure and heat.

To learn more about the programme or locate a place to drop off your end-of-life neoprene in the UK, visit circularflow.net/padi

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Marine Life & Conservation

Statement from Captain Paul Watson on his resignation from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (USA)

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It is with great relief that as of July 27th, 2022, I have ceased my employment and cut all ties with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (USA).

Since 1977, when I founded Sea Shepherd nearly a half century ago, I have dedicated my entire life to the aggressive and determined preservation and protection of biodiversity of marine life and our ocean.

Over the last few years, I have been slowly marginalized from the organization that I created in the USA. I was removed from the Board of Directors, my advice ignored, my close associates terminated and directors that supported me were removed. I was reduced to being a paid figurehead, denied the freedom to organize campaigns and the freedom to express the strong opinions that I have held for decades, opinions and campaigns that have shaped what Sea Shepherd has become and continues to be outside the borders of the United States.

As I said in the documentary movie Watson, my role is to rock the boat, to make waves, to provoke people to think about the damage we are collectively inflicting upon diversity and interdependence of life in the ocean.

The current Board seeks to turn our vessels away from confronting illegal poachers that prey on endangered species and instead seeks to turn our fleet into non-controversial research vessels. Research has always been a part of Sea Shepherd efforts, but it has not and should not be our priority. What we have provided is a unique function: a fearless leadership to intervene against poachers on the high seas, to document and to stop illegal acts that would otherwise go unnoticed and unchallenged. Sea Shepherd has always, and must always go where others fear to go, to say the things that must be said and to tackle the obstacles fearlessly and with great resolve.

The new direction that the present Board of Sea Shepherd USA has decided upon is not a path that I can in good conscience support nor participate in. I have not changed my objectives or resolve, and I refuse to change and adopt an approach that diminishes the incredible movement that we have created over the last four and a half decades, a movement that continues to grow outside the borders of the United States.

I remain a director of Sea Shepherd Global, and I remain a supporter of Global ships, officers, and crew. Together with all other national Sea Shepherd entities, with the exception of the USA, I will continue to support our campaigns around the world utilizing our unique philosophy of aggressive non-violence and cooperation with governments and NGOs.

We are Sea Shepherd. We are direct action motivated by imagination, persistence, and courage.

My future lies with the people from around the world who have made and continue to make Sea Shepherd the most influential, passionate, and effective marine conservation movement on this planet.

Captain Paul Watson

Founder – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Canada (1977)

Founder – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA (1981)

 

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