The Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas has been declared a “Hope Spot” by Mission Blue, according to a statement. .
The formal designation also makes MSC Foundation Board Member and Chair of the Executive Committee, and Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, Pierfrancesco Vago, a “Hope Spot Champion.”
The non-profit organization founded by oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle currently counts 154 Hope Spots recognized as critical to ocean health with the final goal to achieve the status of Marine Protected Areas.
“Being designated a Hope Spot is an important recognition for Ocean Cay Marine Reserve and helps focus attention on how we all have an important duty as caretakers of our Blue Planet,” said Vago.
“That responsibility is why the scientific research and restoration efforts of our Super Coral Programme aim not just to create resilient coral reefs around Ocean Cay and in the Bahamas, but to simultaneously contribute to conservation knowledge and initiatives worldwide. I thank Dr. Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue for their tireless efforts, which inspire us all to cherish and safeguard the rich biodiversity of our oceans.”
Nominations are evaluated by the Hope Spot Council, which includes marine scientists and policy experts.
MSC Cruises took over Ocean Cay in 2015 and started collaborating with the government of the Bahamas, leading universities, marine scientists and conservationists to restore the island’s ecosystems. Since then, nearly 5,000 trees and 75,000 indigenous plants, flowers and shrubs have been planted on the island.
Additionally, in 2019, the MSC Foundation started its Super Coral Programme to restore the island’s coral reefs.
“This recognizes the comprehensive restoration efforts and commitment to protecting marine biodiversity. Led by Pierfrancesco Vago, the restoration of Ocean Cay has been a multidisciplinary effort to re-establish the ecological balance in this limestone island and its surrounding marine estate,” said Earle.
“Ocean Cay will inform thousands of people weekly about the crucial importance of growing and out-planting thermally tolerant corals for marine conservation, ocean health and human wellbeing.”