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MSC Foundation and Mission Blue form three-year partnership

Founder of Mission Blue Sylvia Earle and Pierfrancesco Vago, chair of the MSC Foundation executive committee and executive chairman of the cruise division of MSC Group agree the strategic three-year partnership
Mission Blue and the MSC Foundation joined forces to implement an ocean literacy programme and a seagrass restoration project.

The aim of the strategic three-year partnership is to unite Mission Blue's expertise, led by renowned oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, with MSC Foundation's extensive outreach capabilities to inspire and mobilise widespread support for ocean protection and bolster global marine conservation.

Ocean literacy

There are two main components. An ocean literacy programme, launching this summer, is designed to educate and inspire about 4m cruise passengers sailing with MSC about the importance of the ocean. The programme includes lessons, activities and on board presentations from luminaries in ocean conservation. These will emphasise the important role of Hope Spots – ecologically unique areas of the ocean designated for protection – 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. 

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.

‘Our joint commitment with Dr Earle and Mission Blue enhances our capacity to drive significant change,’ remarked Pierfrancesco Vago, chair of the MSC Foundation executive committee and executive chairman of the cruise division of MSC Group. ‘As the Hope Spot Champion for Ocean Cay, I am eager to see our efforts catalyse widespread support for protecting vital ecosystems in the communities where we sail, with MSC Group peers and stakeholders worldwide, including our cruise guests.’ 

Restoring seagrass

The second component is a restoration project that will plant thousands of seagrass plants in Spain. Daniela Picco, executive director of the MSC Foundation, said, ‘...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…’  This is to help create a cascade of ecological benefits, including fostering an increase in biodiversity, enhancing fish stocks, and sequestering carbon. 

Ocean at breaking point

Earle, president and co-chair of Mission Blue, said, ‘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!’

She added, ‘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 programmes aimed at engaging the public on a grand scale at a critical moment in time.’

TAGS: MSC Cruises