International Declaration Adopted to Protect Sargasso Sea Biodiversity
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The Azores, Bermuda, Monaco, the UK and the US have signed the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea.

The Declaration will provide a platform for the creation of a Sargasso Sea Commission, the aim of which will be to minimize the adverse effects of shipping and fishing in the area.

iucn-sargassoseaalliance12 March 2014: The Azores, Bermuda, Monaco, the UK and the US have signed the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea. The Declaration will provide a platform for the creation of a Sargasso Sea Commission, the aim of which will be to minimize the adverse effects of shipping and fishing in the area.

The Declaration, signed in Hamilton, Bermuda falls under the Sargasso Sea Alliance, an initiative led by Bermuda and hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Many other parties and international organizations present at the signing expressed support for the Declaration.

The Hamilton Declaration sets forth the protection of the Sargasso Sea through international bodies that regulate areas beyond national jurisdiction, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), regional fisheries authorities and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). David Freestone, Executive Director of the Sargasso Sea Alliance, stressed that this is the first time an international alliance has been formed to protect a high seas ecosystem, using existing legal international frameworks. Kristina Gjerde, IUCN, added that this Declaration sends an important message to come together to protect wildlife throughout the global ocean commons.

The floating Sargassum seaweeds in the Sargasso sea shelter a wide variety of species, such as the Sargassum anglerfish, as well as 30 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, turtles, sharks, rays and the European and American eels. Wastewater discharge from ships, pollution, fishing, harvesting of Sargassum algae for fertilizer and biofuel production, seabed mining, climate change and ocean acidification are some of the threats. [IUCN News] [CMS News]

 

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