Sargasso Sea Commission

Sargasso Sea Commission The Sargasso Sea is named for the Sargassum seaweed that creates its unique ecosystem. The Sea has been called a golden floating rainforest.
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The Sargasso Sea is named for the Sargassum seaweed that creates its unique ecosystem. The Sea has been called a golden floating rainforest. It is a haven of biodiversity and there is growing recognition of the crucial role it plays in the wider North Atlantic ecosystem as habitat, foraging and spawning grounds and as a migratory corridor. Endangered European and American eels migrate to the Sargasso to breed. Wahoo, tuna and other pelagic fish forage in and migrate through the Sea, as do a number of whale species, notably sperm whales and humpbacks. The Sargasso Sea supports a range of endemic species and plays a critical role in supporting the life cycle of a number of threatened and endangered species such as the Porbeagle shark, the American and the European eel, as well as billfish, tuna and several species of turtle, migratory birds and cetaceans.The Sargassum mats are home to many endemic species and provide a protective ‘nursery’ for juvenile fish and turtles. There is emerging recognition of the crucial role it plays in the wider ecosystem ranging from the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The Sargasso Sea Commission was established pursuant to the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea, signed on 11 March 2014, by the governments of the Azores, Bermuda, Monaco, UK and US. The Commission will “encourage and facilitate voluntary collaboration toward the conservation of the Sargasso Sea.” While the Commission has no management authority, it will “exercise a stewardship role for the Sargasso Sea and keep its health, productivity and resilience under continual review.” A more specific initial mandate is listed in Annex II of the Declaration. The Commission is the result of three years of work by the Sargasso Sea Alliance, and operates as a stand-alone legal entity established by Bermudian and US law. Operating in a largely virtual setting, Commissioners will serve in-kind in their personal capacity and will be supported by a small Secretariat based at the IUCN Washington, DC office. Commissioners were appointed by the Government of Bermuda and were selected through a consultation process in Spring 2014 by governments who support the aims of the Hamilton Declaration.

The most recent fishing season sees 108 smugglers arrested and over 2 tonnes of glass eels seized in Europe
07/24/2020
The most recent fishing season sees 108 smugglers arrested and over 2 tonnes of glass eels seized in Europe

The most recent fishing season sees 108 smugglers arrested and over 2 tonnes of glass eels seized in Europe

On the occasion of the World Environment Day, which takes places tomorrow, Europol marks this day by promoting environmental action and its commitment to support EU Member States in tackling environmental crime. The annual Operation Lake aims to combat trafficking of endangered species in the EU and...

Sargassum seaweed can harbor a variety of aquatic life
07/16/2020
Sargassum seaweed can harbor a variety of aquatic life

Sargassum seaweed can harbor a variety of aquatic life

Some Caribbean countries and some parts of Florida are having problems with Sargassum seaweed. Sargassum is that golden/brown seaweed that washes up onto

Webinar: The Science of Sargassum
07/16/2020
Webinar: The Science of Sargassum

Webinar: The Science of Sargassum

On 26 May 2020, UNEP together with partners IOC-UNESCO and the two Regional Seas under the Cartagena and Abidjan Conventions started a webinar series to highlight key scientific, societal and ecological challenges, responses to prevent impacts and trans-disciplinary and trans-institution collaborati...

First direct evidence of ocean mixing across the Gulf Stream
07/08/2020
First direct evidence of ocean mixing across the Gulf Stream

First direct evidence of ocean mixing across the Gulf Stream

New research provides the first direct evidence for the Gulf Stream blender effect, identifying a new mechanism of mixing water across the swift-moving current. The results have important implications for weather, climate and fisheries because ocean mixing plays a critical role in these processes. T...

IUCN and DOSI - Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative invite you to join us tomorrow to discuss the concept and applicabilit...
06/22/2020

IUCN and DOSI - Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative invite you to join us tomorrow to discuss the concept and applicability of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Area-based Management Tools (ABMTs) in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The webinar will include expert presentations plus opportunities for participants to ask questions from a larger panel of experts and government officials.

For more details and to register, please visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5922802365025416464

The Sargasso Sea is a verdant, vital ecosystem that supports a great diversity of life, provides shelter and feeding gro...
06/18/2020
The Sargasso Sea

The Sargasso Sea is a verdant, vital ecosystem that supports a great diversity of life, provides shelter and feeding grounds for marine mammals. It is an encyclopedia of ocean knowledge and exceptional area for research and monitoring of ocean systems. While perhaps not as extensive as other wild places, it is certainly as vital as any natural environment on Earth. Sadly, the Sargasso also serves as a repository for much of the spoils of human endeavor: shipping, fishing, harvesting, and pollution. via World Ocean Observatory

The Sargasso Sea is a verdant, vital ecosystem that supports a great diversity of life, provides shelter and feeding grounds for marine…

Happy #WorldSeaTurtleDay! The hatchling & juvenile stages of several species of endangered turtles spend their lost year...
06/16/2020

Happy #WorldSeaTurtleDay! The hatchling & juvenile stages of several species of endangered turtles spend their lost years amongst the Sargassum, using it as a nursery habitat for hiding and feeding. (thanks to our collaborating partner UCF Marine Turtle Research Group for the photo) #TurtleTuesday

This special edition of the Sargasso Sea Commission newsletter is in celebration of World Oceans Week. Although this yea...
06/12/2020

This special edition of the Sargasso Sea Commission newsletter is in celebration of World Oceans Week. Although this year things may look a bit different, today we would like to recognize our partnerships around the world, as our work protecting the Sargasso Sea is inherently global. It is the only sea without a land boundary, and is connected to far-reaching parts of the world via major ocean currents and migratory species. Our policy work is global as well, with Signatory governments from ten countries and collaborating partners around the world.

The Commission thanks each and every one of you for your support of our mission to conserve the Sargasso Sea - this World Oceans Day, and every day.

Click here to read the special edition of our newsletter: https://conta.cc/30DGWi2

The ocean genome is the foundation upon which all marine ecosystems and their functionality rest, and is a rich source o...
06/05/2020

The ocean genome is the foundation upon which all marine ecosystems and their functionality rest, and is a rich source of anti-viral compounds. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the dramatic increase in demand for testing has drawn increased interest to potential solutions to be found in the ocean's genetic diversity. In particular, enzymes from hydrothermal vent bacteria have been important components of the technology used in virus test kits, including those used to diagnose COVID-19. But the ocean genome is being eroded by overexploitation, habitat loss and degradation, and other drivers. Understanding and conserving this “ocean genome” is essential not just for the resilience of species and ecosystems, but also for human health and the economy. Conservation measures hinge on protecting at least 30 percent of the ocean in implemented and fully or highly protected marine protected areas (MPAs). Learn more at: oceanfdn.org/blueshift

The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea - PubMed
06/02/2020
The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea - PubMed

The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea - PubMed

Sea surface temperature (SST), salinity, and flux of terrigenous material oscillated on millennial time scales in the Pleistocene North Atlantic, but there are few records of Holocene variability. Because of high rates of sediment accumulation, Holocene oscillations are well documented in the northe...

Although there is a dramatic reduction of global economic activity during the COVID-19 outbreak, plastic waste has conti...
05/29/2020

Although there is a dramatic reduction of global economic activity during the COVID-19 outbreak, plastic waste has continued to rise. Much of the personal protective equipment used by healthcare workers and the general public, the masks and gloves, being used is made of plastic, and much of it is being discarded with few restrictions. Ultimately these products end up in the ocean causing many negative impacts. Unfortunately, the pressure to produce these one-time use products is causing legislators to consider a pause or delay in implementation of bag laws, single use plastic, and more during the global pandemic. This will only compound an already dangerous situation for the ocean. It is therefore more important than ever to be mindful of individual plastic consumption and scale up recycling programs. Read more at: oceanfdn.org/blueshift

Improving transport predictions of pelagic Sargassum
05/28/2020
Improving transport predictions of pelagic Sargassum

Improving transport predictions of pelagic Sargassum

A mechanistic understanding of organismal movement provides context for existing biogeographic and ecological patterns and improves our ability to pre…

Mobile protected areas for biodiversity on the high seas
05/28/2020
Mobile protected areas for biodiversity on the high seas

Mobile protected areas for biodiversity on the high seas

A new agreement is being negotiated under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to provide legally binding mechanisms to protect the marine environment and to conserve and ensure the sustainable use of marine biodiversity on the high seas (international waters in areas be...

Studies suggest that noise pollution can harm whales directly by damaging their hearing, and in extreme cases, causing i...
05/22/2020

Studies suggest that noise pollution can harm whales directly by damaging their hearing, and in extreme cases, causing internal bleeding and death. Levels of underwater noise pollution from ships have plummeted during the COVID-19 lockdown, offering a respite for whales and other marine life. Acoustic monitoring at 3,000 metres depth, showed a drop in average weekly noise (from Jan – April 2020) of 1.5 decibels, or around a 15% decrease in power. This significant drop in low-frequency vessel noise is unprecedented and will be important to study to gain a better understanding of the positive effect that reduced ambient noise has on marine life.
Read more at: oceanfdn.org/blueshift/

Where Do Eels Come From?
05/19/2020
Where Do Eels Come From?

Where Do Eels Come From?

There is much to be learned from how little we know about them.

Fish is the primary source of protein for approximately 1 billion people worldwide and represents an important part of t...
05/15/2020

Fish is the primary source of protein for approximately 1 billion people worldwide and represents an important part of the diet of many more. During the COVID-19 outbreak, global safety rules have forced fishing fleets to stay in port, with many ports having to completely close. This has resulted in less fishing activity at sea and has prevented fisherfolk from getting their product to market. Satellite data and observations indicate activity is down as much as 80 percent in some regions. The impacts could mean that threatened fish stocks have a chance to recover, but there will also be devastating economic consequences for vulnerable fisherfolks. To ensure the ocean’s role in global food security we should use this opportunity to understand the implications of the pause so stocks can be managed better/properly going forward. Read more at: oceanfdn.org/blueshift/

What’s the Deal With Eels?
05/15/2020
What’s the Deal With Eels?

What’s the Deal With Eels?

A new book examines what we know about the mysterious creature, and a lot more that we do not.

Ottawa orders temporary shutdown of Maritime elver fishery | CBC News
05/09/2020
Ottawa orders temporary shutdown of Maritime elver fishery | CBC News

Ottawa orders temporary shutdown of Maritime elver fishery | CBC News

The multimillion-dollar baby eel or elver fishery in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick has been shut down amid escalating conflict between commercial and Indigenous harvesters, according to an industry representative.

“The Sargasso Sea has ecological importance rivaled by few places in the world...The Sargasso Sea Commission has been wo...
05/01/2020
A Path to Creating the First Generation of High Seas Protected Areas

“The Sargasso Sea has ecological importance rivaled by few places in the world...The
Sargasso Sea Commission has been working to promote better understanding of this ecosystem & coordinate regional & sectoral conservation efforts.”

Although there is much still to discover, scientists have sufficient data and research to begin mapping and modeling hot spots of biodiversity on the high seas. This report identifies some of the special places that could benefit from protections established under a new high seas treaty.

For Global Tuna Industry, COVID-19 Complicates Long-Standing Challenges
04/30/2020
For Global Tuna Industry, COVID-19 Complicates Long-Standing Challenges

For Global Tuna Industry, COVID-19 Complicates Long-Standing Challenges

The global tuna fishing industry is among the many sectors enduring major impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Tunas hold enormous cultural, ecological and economic significance around the world and thus must be managed sustainably, which is why the United Nations designated 2 May as World Tuna Day.

OCEARCH
04/29/2020

OCEARCH

Bermuda bound! White Shark Unama’ki, 15’ 5” long, is less than 100 miles from the island. The only other white sharks we’ve tracked in this area are other big mature females like Mary Lee and Lydia.

04/28/2020
Sargasso Sea Commission

Every spring, humpback whales migrate north through the Sargasso Sea- but this area is more than merely a transitory corridor on the whales' northward journey. In this video, Andrew Stevenson, a Bermuda-based researcher, shares some unique insights about the importance of the high seas in the pelagic lives of humpback whales. The Humpback Whale Research Project, Bermuda

A video collaboration between the Sargasso Sea Commission and Mr. Andrew Stevenson's humpback whale research and videography in Bermuda.

Efficiency of the Ocean’s “Biological Carbon Pump” Has Been Drastically Underestimated
04/07/2020
Efficiency of the Ocean’s “Biological Carbon Pump” Has Been Drastically Underestimated

Efficiency of the Ocean’s “Biological Carbon Pump” Has Been Drastically Underestimated

The Ocean’s ‘Biological Pump’ Captures Twice as Much Carbon as Expected Every spring in the Northern Hemisphere, the ocean surface erupts in a massive bloom of phytoplankton. Like plants, these single-celled floating organisms use photosynthesis to turn light into energy, consuming carbon diox...

A team of scientists from the University of British Columbia, the BIOS-Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, the French I...
04/07/2020
The ocean responds to a warming planet

A team of scientists from the University of British Columbia, the BIOS-Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, the French Institute for Ocean Science at the University of Brest, and the University of Southampton recently published the results of an analysis of North Atlantic Ocean water masses in the journal Nature Climate Change.

We're familiar with how climate change is impacting the ocean's biology, from bleaching events that cause coral die-offs to algae blooms that choke coastal marine ecosystems, but it's becoming clear that a warming planet is also impacting the physics of ocean circulation.

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From the last Sargasso Sea Commission meeting.