World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Governments Unite To Conserve Iconic Sargasso Sea

Governments Unite To Conserve Iconic Sargasso Sea

Gland, Switzerland, 11 March 2014 (IUCN) Today governments of Bermuda, the Azores, Monaco, United Kingdom and the United States signed a declaration committing to the conservation of the Sargasso Sea – a vast patch of mid-Atlantic Ocean known for its unique floating seaweeds that harbour rich biodiversity. This is the first time an international alliance has been formed to protect this unique haven of marine life.

The agreement, which was signed in Bermuda’s capital Hamilton, is part of the Sargasso Sea Alliance – an initiative led by the Government of Bermuda and hosted by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), which is one of its founding partners.


The ‘Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea’ – also known as the ‘Hamilton Declaration’ – is a non-binding political statement. It seeks protection for the Sargasso Sea using international bodies that regulate areas beyond national jurisdiction, such as the International Maritime Organization, regional fisheries authorities and the Convention on Migratory Species.


This is a truly historic occasion,” says David Freestone, Executive Director of the Sargasso Sea Alliance. “It is the first time an international alliance has been formed to protect an iconic high seas ecosystem, using existing legal international frameworks.”


The Sargasso Sea serves as an ecological crossroad in the Atlantic Ocean. Its floating Sargassum seaweeds shelter a wide variety of species. Some of them, like the Sargassum anglerfish, are unique to the area. Some 30 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises breed, live in or migrate through the Sargasso Sea, as do species of tuna, turtles, sharks, rays and the European and American eels.


The area faces numerous threats which undermine its long-term viability and health. These include wastewater discharge from ships, pollution, fishing, harvesting of Sargassum algae for fertilizer and biofuel production, seabed mining, climate change and ocean acidification.


The more we explore the vast blue open ocean, the more we realize that it has some spectacular havens for wildlife just like those we value on land,” says Dan Laffoley, Marine Vice Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. “Unlike on land, however, we do not have proper legal mechanisms to safeguard these precious places.”


Unlike the Mediterranean, the Northeast Atlantic or Southern Ocean, the Sargasso Sea lacks a regional organization responsible for its conservation. The Hamilton Declaration will provide a platform for the creation of a Sargasso Sea Commission, whose aim will be to minimize the adverse effects of shipping and fishing in the area, keeping its health, productivity and resilience under review.


Government representatives from Sweden, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, the Netherlands, Bahamas and South Africa expressed support for the declaration, together with five international organizations including IUCN, the Oslo and Paris Commission from the neighboring North-east Atlantic regions, the International Seabed Authority, the Inter-American Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Sea Turtles and the Convention on Migratory Species.


The Hamilton Declaration represents a rare oasis of joint voluntary action to protect this high seas gem,” says Kristina Gjerde, IUCN Senior High Seas Policy Advisor. “Strong leadership in protecting and managing the Sargasso Sea should send an important message to the international community that now is the time to come together to protect wildlife throughout our global ocean commons.”


Commitments like this are a key part of global efforts to meet the target of conserving 10% of the ocean by 2020, up from almost 3% we have today. Progress towards this target will be discussed at the IUCN World Parks Congress taking place in Sydney from 12 to 19 November 2014.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>


Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:


US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

The hard-nosed neo-cons were certainly showing little interest in linking arguments, examining evidence, or even considering elementary logic in the aftermath of the Berlin truck attack near the Gedächtniskirche. With the bodies fresh in the morgue, former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, peered into the mind of the everyday German, and found teeth chattering fear. More>>


Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news