No magician ever produced more from an empty hat than a single sweep of the net would reveal under the barest bit of sargassum weed.
~ William Beebe
Greenrock is a proud partner in the Bermuda Alliance for Sargasso Sea (BASS) — a collaboration of ten leading conservation and scientific organisations seeking to protect the rich biodiversity of the Sargasso Sea.
BASS was formed to support efforts by the SSA (made up of Bermuda government and its international partners) to ensure that the globally significant natural environment and unique biological richness of the Sargasso Sea is conserved for present and future generations.
BASS members are Atlantic Conservation Partnership; Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute; Bermuda National Trust; Greenrock; Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science; Bermuda Sloop Foundation; LookBermuda Education Foundation; National Museum of Bermuda; Bermuda Audubon Society; and Bermuda Zoological Society.
The goal of BASS is to support efforts by the SSA (made up of Bermuda government and its international partners) to ensure that the globally significant natural environment and unique biological richness of the Sargasso Sea is conserved for present and future generations. BASS commits to encourage and assist in these efforts, and to promote the unique cultural relevance of the Sargasso Sea to Bermuda, through advocacy, education and research.
Launched in 2010, the Sargasso Sea Alliance (SSA) is a partnership led by the Bermuda Government, in collaboration with scientists, international marine conservation groups and private donors, who all share a vision of protecting the unique and vulnerable ocean ecosystem that is the Sargasso Sea.
The Sargasso Sea is a very special and unique place – an ocean within an ocean; a 'sea' without shores that covers nearly five-million square kilometres. Bermuda is the only land mass within the Sargasso Sea.
The Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift form the western and northern boundaries, the Canary Current forms the eastern boundary, and the North Equatorial Current and Antilles Current form the southern boundary.
Last June Greenrock and BASS sponsored a series of explorations of the Sargasso Sea on the Sea Dragon - you can find the final report here.
Oceanographer Sylvia Earle has called the Sargasso Sea the "golden floating rainforest of the Atlantic Ocean".
Within this large system of rotating ocean currents (or ocean gyre), drifting with the wind and the currents are floating islands of Sargassum seaweed that support a remarkable web of life - and provide the sea with its name.
Any protection within Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone — the waters within a 200-mile radius of Bermuda — would represent a major contribution to the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Sargasso Sea.
To learn more about why the Sargasso Sea should be protected, watch the video or follow the links below;
- The Sargasso Sea should be protected
- The Sargasso Sea - Why We Should Care
- Adopting The Sargasso Sea & Adapting to Life in the Sargasso
- Global Ocean Legacy - Bermuda
The Proposed "Blue Halo" marine reserve
The "Blue Halo" is the proposed marine reserve that will encompass much of Bermuda's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) — the waters within a 200-mile radius of Bermuda — within the Sargasso Sea. By creating the marine reserve, Bermuda will show the world that we are serious about preserving our ocean environment for future generations. The Government is currently conducting a public consultation on the whether to establish a marine reserve in the EEZ. They have offered 4 options (on the paper survey):
Option 1: A marine reserve starting at 85nm
Option 2: A marine reserve starting at 140nm
Option 3: A marine reserve starting at 330km (178nm: i.e. a thin 22nm strip at the very edge of our EEZ)
Option 4: No marine reserve
Option 5: Propose a different design.
We strongly recommend choosing Option 5:
On the online survey this is Question 2, Option 4:
Yes – Bermuda should create a marine reserve in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), but I would propose a different design (size, location, shape and protections). (Please attach your design.) Attach the following comment/ design;
"If we made the marine reserve from 50 miles to 200 miles (as opposed to starting at 85 miles) then the new Marine Protected Area would be larger than the Great Barrier Reef, and there is considerable evidence to suggest that the tourism benefits would increase significantly without any impact on current fishing or recreational practice."
In order to protect the habitat and species within, marine reserves are typically no-take areas where there is limited human interaction. This allows overfished and overused areas to revert back to their naturally pristine state. There is scientific proof that in marine reserves fish stocks increase, the fish tend to grow larger and there is a “spill over” effect into areas outside of the reserve. This makes the proposal in Option 4 pointless as a 22nm strip will not protect fish stocks.
The reserve around Bermuda will have an inner and outer ring. In the inner ring (the area that is closest to Bermuda), current activities will not change. All of our current activities (except for occasional tips of 2 or 3 fisherman) occur within 25 or 30 nm of shore, therefore starting a reserve at 50nm will not impede Bermudians who earn their livelihood through marine activities (both commercial and recreational). The outer ring, the limit of our EEZ, will encompass the reserve. Large reserves will have more benefit because they hold a greater diversity of life.
The actual size of the reserve will be determined through public consultation. If we grasp this opportunity and vote for a marine reserve which goes from 50nm to 200nm we will be protecting our greatest assets and those of our children. These assets are currently unprotected, allowing foreign fishing vessels to trawl in our waters without any deterrence. Creating a legal entity: an internationally recognised marine reserve, we will be creating a living legacy without making very much difference to how we use our EEZ.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013