Written by 9:38 am Bahamas, Caribbean, MSC, Nature, News

Mission Blue partners with MSC Foundation to promote marine conservation

Mission Blue is a global alliance working to secure protection for healthy areas in the ocean and to restore damaged systems in places designated as Hope Spots. Recently, Mission Blue and the MSC Foundation announced a strategic partnership to implement an ocean literacy program and seagrass restoration project. This collaboration unites Mission Blue’s expertise, led by renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, with the MSC Foundation’s extensive outreach capabilities to inspire and mobilize widespread support for ocean protection.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, President and Co-Chair of Mission Blue, shares her vision: “The ocean is at a breaking point, demanding not just our attention but urgent global action. We must protect it as if our lives depend on it—because they do! By joining forces with the MSC Foundation, we can now reach millions of people who are out on the ocean each year to help educate them on what is below the ship and inspire greater marine stewardship. The MSC Foundation has demonstrated its commitment to ocean conservation at sea and on land at Ocean Cay in the Bahamas, and through its outreach programs aimed at engaging the public on a grand scale at a critical moment in time.” In October 2023, Dr. Earle became the Godmother of Explora Journeys’ Explora I at a traditional maritime naming ceremony.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve April 2023
Image courtesy MSC Cruises

The ocean literacy program launches this summer to educate 4 million guests across MSC Cruises’ ships about the importance of the oceans. The program includes lessons, activities, and onboard presentations for cruise guests from luminaries in ocean conservation. It will emphasize the important role of Hope Spots and essential marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, and kelp forests.

Posidonia seagrass meadow. © Kip Evans
Posidonia seagrass meadow. © Kip Evans

The restoration project will plant up to 37,000 seagrass plants over the next three years to help restore vital seagrass meadows around Formentera, Spain. The objective is to support ongoing efforts in the region to replenish these meadows and help create a cascade of ecological benefits, including fostering an increase in biodiversity, enhancing fish stocks, and sequestering carbon.

The partnership between Mission Blue and the MSC Foundation is driven by a shared commitment to safeguard the “Blue Heart” of the planet. Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is MSC Cruises’ private island, which the company developed by rehabilitating a former sand mining site. In July 2023, Mission Blue declared the island and its surrounding waters a Hope Spot in recognition of the ongoing ecosystem recovery spurred by those efforts, along with the coral reef restoration and resilience-building of the MSC Foundation’s Super Coral Program.

Shark swims underwater atOcean Cay MSC Marine Reserve Hope Spot
Ocean Cay Hope Spot. ©MSC Foundation

Pierfrancesco Vago, Chair of the MSC Foundation Executive Committee and Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, emphasized the collaborative spirit of this new venture: “Our joint commitment with Dr. Earle and Mission Blue enhances our capacity to drive significant change. Vago also serves as the Hope Spot Champion for Ocean Cay, I am eager to see our efforts catalyze widespread support for protecting vital ecosystems in the communities where we sail, with MSC Group peers and stakeholders worldwide, including our cruise guests.”

Pierfrancesco Vago, Silvia Earle and Daniela Picco after the conclusion of the partnership agreement in Geneva March 2024
Pierfrancesco Vago, Silvia Earle and Daniela Picco, image courtesy MSC Foundation

Daniela Picco, Executive Director of the MSC Foundation, added: “This partnership is about education as well as restoration—two of the Foundation’s focus areas. Thanks to this partnership, we are adding an important new restoration project to our portfolio, involving replanting up to 37,000 seagrass plants around the island of Formentera, Spain, over three years. We aim to boost ongoing efforts to replenish seagrass meadows to mitigate the effects of human activity and climate change, restoring ecological balance and supporting marine life.”

If you want to visit Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and learn more about the Hope Spot and ocean conservation, we recommend MEI Travel for a free, no obligation quote and free help throughout your trip.

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