Dr Sylvia Earle to Launch Five Hope Spots of Marine Biodiversity in South Africa

Dr Sylvia Earle will lead a Mission Blue Expedition to South Africa to launch the country’s first five Hope Spots – marine conservation areas that are critical to the health of the ocean – in December 2014. Sustainable Seas Trust and BirdLife South Africa are organizing the tour to promote public support for marine conservation.

Dr Sylvia Earle, the architect of the Hope Spot initiative, is also a National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Ted Award Winner, Recipient of 24 Honourary degrees, marine conservationist, author and arguably the world’s most famous diver. Dr Earle will be leading the Mission Blue Expedition to South Africa and will also launch a book, Splendours of South African Seas, which will comprise images taken by the public to celebrate the sea.

“It isn’t too late to shift from the swift, sharp decline of ocean systems in recent decades to an era of steady recovery. There is time, but not a lot. The next ten years may be the most crucial time for the ocean in the next ten thousand years. Our past, our present, and whatever remains of our future, absolutely depend on what we do now,” said Dr Sylvia Earle.

What are Hope Spots?

Marine Hope Spots South Africa_Kip Evans

Photo: KipEvans/Mission Blue

Hope Spots are special conservation areas that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blueheart. Some of these Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need protection. About 12 % of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks,world heritage sites, monuments, etc.), while less than three percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Mission Blue is committed to changing this. Networks of Hope Spots maintain biodiversity,  provide a carbon sink, generate life-giving oxygen, preserve critical habitat and allow low-impact activities like ecotourism to thrive. By engaging governments, businesses, schools, research organizations, universities, civil society and the media, Mission Blue hopes to effect significant changes so that future generations can thrive on a healthy planet, with a healthy ocean.

South African Hope Spots

South Africa, with its huge diversity of marine habitats, will build up its list of Hope Spots with the first being launched by Dr Earle at Aliwal Shoal in KwaZulu-Natal, Algoa Bay, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and the Cape Whale Coast (Hermanus area). This initaitive aims to establish Hope Spots that encourage communities around South Africa to become actively engaged in caring for their beaches, rocky shores and the animals and plants that live in our seas.

Claudio Velasquez, with the support of Jaco Loubser, of Home Brew Films have offered to promote the South African Hope Spots by making a film for each Hope Spot based on their footage accumulated for the two series of Shore Line. Kip Evens, the cameraman from Mission Blue, will also make films of Sylvia Earle available, as will SST.


  1. Jaco Loubser and Claudio Velásquez Rojas Using Shoreline Footage to Help Promote South African Hope Spots | Struik Travel & Heritage - January 31, 2015

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