And a certain dolphin may have had something to do with it.
The Greater Skellig coast has just been added to Mission Blue's list of Hope Spots, of which there are currently 148 worldwide. This is Ireland's first Hope Spot and it contains the Skellig Islands as well as the area between Loop Head in County Clare and Kenmare Bay, County Kerry.
What exactly is a Hope Spot you ask? According to their website, "Hope Spots are special places that are scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean."
So what earned Skellig a place on this list?
"There are several unique coastal water bodies in this region, including the Shannon Estuary, Tralee and Brandon Bays, Dingle Bay, Portmagee Channel, and part of Kenmare Bay. The Greater Skellig Coast is home to critically endangered sharks, globally important seabird colonies, and animals threatened with extinction that rely on the area for breeding and feeding."
What's perhaps most heart-warming about the Skellig's place on the list is that Fungie had a huge part in putting it there.
In their description of why the Skellig coast was chosen as one of the world's Hope Spots, they said this of our favourite dolphin:
"Fungi led to the development of the first major marine ecotourism industry in Ireland, which attracted renowned scientists from across the globe, and in turn, ignited a movement to inspire Ireland to protect 30% of its EEZ by 2030."
That would bring a tear to a glass eye, that would. We always knew that wee dolphin was special.
Mission Blue's Founder Dr. Sylvia Earle said this of Ireland's Hope Spot:
"This Hope Spot is being announced at a crucial time for Ireland because in 2023, new national marine protected area (MPA) legislation will be introduced for the first time. 81% of Irish people believe that we need to protect, conserve and restore the ocean. This legislation will help achieve this very desirable protection."
Header image via Shutterstock
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