Hope Spots are special places that are scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean. Hope Spots are championed by local conservationists. The Salish Sea has been named a Mission Blue Hope Spot.
The Salish Sea is home to some of the largest and longest-lived marine species on Earth, including the North Pacific giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), the giant Pacific chiton (Cryptochiton stelleri), the largest barnacle (Balanus nubilus), plumose anemone (Metridium senile), the largest sea anemone, cabezon, lion’s mane jellyfish, and 25 species of rockfish that have life spans of 50-200 years.
The Salish Sea Hope Spot partner organizations include Pacific Mammal Research, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, SeaLegacy, Seattle Aquarium, Marine Conservation Institute, Ocean Wise, Earth Law Center, Sea Smart, Coextinction Foundation, PNW Protectors, United and Free.
While about 12 percent of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks etc.), less than six percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Hope Spots allow us to plan for the future and look beyond current marine protected areas (MPAs), which are like national parks on land where exploitative uses like fishing and deep sea mining are restricted. Hope Spots are often areas that need new protection, but they can also be existing MPAs where more action is needed.
They can be large, they can be small, but they all provide hope due to:
- A special abundance or diversity of species, unusual or representative species, habitats or ecosystems
- Particular populations of rare, threatened or endemic species
- A site with potential to reverse damage from negative human impacts
- The presence of natural processes such as major migration corridors or spawning grounds
- Significant historical, cultural or spiritual values
- Particular economic importance to the community
Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, says, “The Salish Sea holds immensely important biodiversity. This body of water has provided the residents of Seattle up to Vancouver with vital natural resources for millennia. We must act now if we want to protect the ocean and its inhabitants from the destructive effects of human interference. I want to thank SR³ and their partners for their important work in marine animal research and rehabilitation – it’s so important that people are aware of the creatures that they share the ocean with. If the whales, seals and dolphins aren’t healthy, humans won’t be healthy, either.”