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Mission Blue and the MSC Foundation Unite to Champion Marine Conservation

In a significant move to bolster global marine conservation, Mission Blue and the MSC Foundation today, on International Day for Biological Diversity, announced a strategic three-year partnership to implement an ambitious 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.

Mission Blue and the MSC Foundation will collaborate on two main components:

  • An ocean literacy program, launching this summer, designed to educate and inspire about four million guests across MSC Cruises Division fleets about the importance of the ocean. The program includes lessons, activities, and onboard presentations for cruise guests from luminaries in ocean conservation, emphasizing the important role of Hope Spots and essential marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass meadows, coral reefs and kelp forests as well as the open ocean and deep sea beyond national jurisdiction.
  • A restoration project that will plant up to 37,000 seagrass plants over the next three years to help restore seagrass meadows around Formentera, Spain. The objective is to support ongoing efforts in the region to replenish vital seagrass meadows and help create a cascade of ecological benefits, including fostering an increase in biodiversity, enhancing fish stocks, and sequestering carbon.

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.”

The partnership between Mission Blue and the MSC Foundation is driven by a shared commitment to safeguard the “Blue Heart” of the planet. In July 2023, Mission Blue declared Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve a Hope Spot in recognition of the ecosystem recovery on the island and its surrounding waters, including the coral reef restoration and resilience-building efforts of the MSC Foundation’s Super Coral Programme. Mr Pierfrancesco Vago was named the Hope Spot Champion for Ocean Cay. In October 2023, Dr Earle was named the Godmother of Explora I at a traditional maritime ceremony.

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. 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.”

Daniela Picco, Executive Director of the MSC Foundation, outlined the operational aspects of the partnership: “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.”