Letter of Intent: Stellwagen Marine Sanctuary

June 30, 2011

Today [June 30] a Letter of Intent between the U.S Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Government of Bermuda was signed, with both parties pledging cooperation on future marine mammal sanctuary discussions.

Pictured below are: Southeast Regional Director of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Senior Science Advisory Committee, Sargasso Sea Alliance Dr. Billy Causey (far left) and Director of Environmental Protection Dr. Frederick Ming (far right) sign the official Letter of Intent between Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (United States) and the Government of Bermuda to pledge cooperation on future marine mammal sanctuary discussions. Executive Director for the Sargasso Sea Alliance Dr. David Freestone looks on.

photo 30 june 30 2011

Dr. Billy Causey said, “Humpback whales know no jurisdictions, nor are they bound to any specific authorities. They are international “citizens without passports”.

“The connectivity that exists between the special areas where they feed and nurse their young in the North Atlantic Ocean and where they court and reproduce in the Caribbean Sea is characterized by their annual migration.”

“Currently there is little knowledge regarding the migratory pathway of Humpback Whales in the North Atlantic and wider Caribbean region.”

“This joint initiative seeks to improve knowledge of the shared Humpback Whale population between Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (which is their feeding and nursery ground) and their migratory corridor in Bermuda. This knowledge could lead to establishing a Sister Sanctuary partnership between the Stellwagen Bank NMS and the Government of Bermuda.”

“The letter that we are signing today reflects the clear intention of the participants to foster cooperation on activities of mutual interest and to exchange experience concerning the conservation and management of the endangered Humpback Whale, the respective marine bank ecosystem they frequent and their migratory corridors.”

“The signing also signifies a beginning that provides a great opportunity for a most successful collaboration. Hence, it is with great pleasure that I sign this letter for Dr. Craig MacDonald, superintendent of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary who could not be here with us today.”

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