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

 

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news