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Island to serve as base for Sargasso Sea Alliance Initiative

Executive Director of the Sargasso Sea Alliance Dr David Freestone shakes hands with Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Walter H. Roban as (from left) Director of Conservation Services Drew Pettit, Director of Environmental Protection Dr Fredrick Ming, and Permanent Secretary Dr Derrick Binns look on.

Bermuda will be at the heart of a project to protect a precious ocean region, Environment Minister Walter Roban has revealed.He told a reception at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) that thanks to international private donors the Island would be the base for the scientific operations of the Sargasso Sea Alliance Initiative.“I am happy to announce the Government’s commitment to this most worthy international initiative and can confirm that we will do our part to ensure Bermuda plays a leading governmental role in this project,” the Minister said.The reception last Tuesday also featured a talk from environmental law expert David Freestone, the new executive director of the Alliance. He told the audience that the Sargasso a water mass up to 700 miles wide and 2,000 miles long was home to endangered species of turtles, acted as a nursery for juvenile fish and was important for the protection of various endangered eels.Dr Freestone, on his fourth visit to Bermuda, said threats to the sea included garbage and plastics from boats, oil discharges, overfishing, the extraction of seaweed for bio fuels and climate change.He added he was looking forward to “making Bermuda his second home”.Frederick Ming, director of the Department of Environmental Protection, said Dr Freestone’s visit signalled a “major development in the progress of the Alliance’s agenda”.“Work will proceed at a much more rapid pace, as he brings a great deal of relevant legal and diplomatic experience to the job,” said Dr Ming.