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Minister gives update on Sargasso Sea Alliance

Royal Gazette

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a Full Science Case for their review as Bermuda moves to establish international protection of the Sargasso Sea.

With the exception of Bermuda, the Sargasso Sea is the only sea without land boundaries.

Environment Minister Marc Bean issued a progress report yesterday on the Sargasso Sea Alliance formed in 2010. Since then the Minister said members have finalised the 71-page document entitled ‘The Protection and Management of the Sargasso Sea: The Golden Floating Rainforest of the Atlantic Ocean’.

“Consequently, the UK Government has agreed to support our wish to enter into protective agreement with countries outside of the Commonwealth or the US,” said Mr Bean. “They only ask that we submit them a list of nations and intergovernmental bodies that wish to engage, before they provide the Bermuda Government with a letter of approval.

“The Sargasso Sea Alliance will now compile that list for approval and onward transmission,” said Mr Bean. The next step will be to “bring together a number of countries and intergovernmental bodies that share our interest in the protection of the Sargasso Sea”.

“We very much hope that such a meeting would culminate in a ‘Hamilton Declaration on the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea’, which would set out agreed principles for the conservation of the Sea.”

Mr Bean added: “Whether viewed environmentally, socially, economically or as a critical area for global marine research the Sargasso Sea is hugely more valuable as an intact and healthy ocean area than as one that is depleted and degraded.”

The Sargasso Sea is generally south and west of Bermuda, stretching more than 2,000 miles into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Its currents are largely immobile yet surrounded by some of the strongest currents in the world.

It is a spawning site for threatened and endangered eels, in addition to white marlin and dolphinfish.

Humpback whales migrate through the Sargasso Sea annually and commercial fish like tuna depend on the Sargasso Sea for food.