The Houtman Abrolhos Islands, an A-Class marine reserve 60km off the coast of Geraldton in Western Australia, have been recognised as an ocean Hope Spot by ocean conservation organisation Mission Blue, joining 85 other sites globally and one other in Australia – Moreton Bay in Queensland.
The Mission Blue Hope Spot program, led by legendary oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, is a global campaign to build public awareness, support and, where necessary, protection for special places that are vital to the health of the ocean.
The nomination of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands was jointly made by Regional Development Australia Mid West and Gascoyne (RDAMWG), whose mandate is to deliver a program of economic development across the region, and the Western Australian Ocean Foundation (WAOF), whose mission is to facilitate the continuous improvement in the health of the oceans of Western Australia. WAOF Chair and Co-Founder, Mr Grant Oldfield, added “Western Australians are blessed with oceans teeming with biodiversity which, in turn, enrichen our lives and support our livelihoods.
WAOF has been formed to facilitate greater community involvement in, and understanding of, the health of our oceans, as there is no doubt that they will become increasingly important to our economy and quality of life”. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce Mission Blue’s second Hope Spot off the coast of Australia,” said Laura Cassiani, Executive Director of Mission Blue. “The Houtman Abrolhos marine reserve is a shining example of conservation and sustainability in some of Australia’s most pristine waters. We look forward working with the communities in the area to shine a light on this special marine ecosystem and promote sustainable ecotourism in the area.”