Currently about 1.2% of the world ocean is set aside for wildlife and their habitat, as compared to around 14% of Earth’s terrestrial surface. We must take action to increase substantially the level of ocean protection that experts consider necessary for healthier oceans and a more sustainable fisheries future. Hope Spots, a term coined by Dr Sylvia Earle, are ocean areas that are especially important for their wildlife and habitats, and merit urgent and effective protection.
One of the most important Hope Spots is the Ross Sea in Antarctica. The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) and the Last Ocean Project have been working to protect the Ross Sea for the past four years. They are now joining forces with Mission Blue partners including the Sylvia Earle Alliance, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and its World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), and the National Geographic Society to secure Marine Protected Area status for the entire Ross Sea shelf and slope ecosystem and superadjacent waters – 647,194 km2, or about 2% of the Southern Ocean.