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Sargasso Sea: BASS Aims To Raise Awareness

Bernews

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Ten local non-governmental and environmental groups are teaming up to raise awareness on the Island about the importance of protecting the Sargasso Sea.

Through scientific research, education and community outreach, the Bermuda Alliance for Sargasso Sea (BASS) aims to support efforts by the Sargasso Sea Alliance led by the Bermuda government to establish the Sargasso Sea as a high-seas marine protected area (MPA).

BASS members include Atlantic Conservation Partnership, Bermuda Institute for Ocean Science (BIOS), Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI), Bermuda National Trust, Bermuda Audubon Society, Greenrock, Bermuda Sloop Foundation, the National Museum of Bermuda, Look-Bermuda Education Foundation, and the Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS).

“As a group, we support the Sargasso Sea Alliance’s mission to make this international high seas area one of the first protected marine areas of its kind in the world, and we would like to see Bermuda residents get on board this campaign and voice their support,” says BASS spokesperson Dr. Judith Landsberg.

“Our goal is to do all we can—through public education, scientific research and community awareness—to help make saving the Sargasso Sea a reality. We want to tell people as much as we can about this precious natural resource—and why they should care.”

Described by oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle as the “golden floating rainforest of the Atlantic Ocean,” the Sargasso Sea covers nearly five-million square kilometres of ocean, bounded by the Gulf Stream and other currents that constantly shift its position.

The Sargasso Sea is one of the world’s most productive marine ecosystems; it feeds, protects the young, and forms a migratory corridor for many endangered and commercially harvested species.

Today this critical habitat is threatened by many human uses—including overfishing and pollution from plastics, oil and bilge.

“Its beauty, richness and value need protecting if we are to continue to benefit from this unique ecosystem,” says Dr Landsberg. “Bermuda is the lone landmass in the Sargasso Sea and has a long record of marine conservation leadership.

“As island residents, we need to work together to help protect the Sargasso Sea for the health of our fisheries and marine environment. By doing so, Bermuda will be showing the world how we can protect and restore our marine resources.”

Currently, less than one-half of 1 percent of the world’s ocean is fully protected, whereas more than 15 times more land has some form of protection.