UK supporting efforts to create marine reserve
The British Government is continuing to work with Bermuda and the Sargasso Sea Alliance in an effort to create a high seas marine reserve.
Henry Bellingham of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told the House of Commons that members of the Sargasso Sea Alliance have met with officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Transport to discuss the project.
As a result of this meeting, officials of the Department for Transport and its Maritime and Coastguard Agency are engaged in discussions with the Sargasso Sea Alliance with a view to identifying a measure or measures which would be appropriate to take forward in the International Maritime Organisation, Mr Bellingham said.
In addition, the Government supports the work of the OSPAR Commission, under which seven Marine Protected Areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction have been identified, in assisting the Alliance with its proposals.
The Government of Bermuda supports the proposal to provide appropriate protection for the Sargasso Sea. The British Government, the Sargasso Sea Alliance and the Government of Bermuda are working together to this end through the appropriate forums.
He further acknowledged that the current system in place for identify marine protected areas on the high seas is piecemeal, and that the British Government is committed to establish a new Implementing Agreement to address the issue.
The Sargasso Sea is more than 1,000km wide and 3,200km long and is bordered by four separate ocean currents; the Gulf Stream, the North Atlantic Current, the Canary Current and the North Atlantic Equatorial Current.
The region is also rich with marine life, and is considered a crucial spawning area for species including eel, dolphinfish and marlin.
Useful website: www.sargassoalliance.org.
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