Bermuda Selects Sargasso Sea Commissioners

August 6, 2014

Today [Aug 6] the Government of Bermuda revealed the names of the first Sargasso Sea Commission, which will exercise a stewardship role for the Sargasso Sea and keep the health, productivity, and resilience of this unique open-ocean ecosystem under continual review as mandated by the Hamilton Declaration.

A spokesperson said, “The five Commissioners, who will serve in their personal capacities, are Dr. Billy Causey [United States], Professor Howard Roe [United Kingdom], Professor Ricardo Serrão Santos [the Azores], Professor Dire Tladi [South Africa], and Dr. Tammy Trott [Bermuda].

“Dr. Billy Causey is Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s [NOAA] Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. He is a marine biologist with more than 30 years experience working on Marine Sanctuaries.

“Professor Howard Roe is an oceanographer with nearly 50 years of experience in marine science. Author of over 100 books, papers and reports, he is an emeritus professor and former Director of the Southampton Oceanography Centre, UK.

“Professor Ricardo Serrão Santos, from the Azores, is Professor of Marine Ecology at the University of the Azores-Horta, Fellow of the Portuguese Academy of Sciences, and of the Portuguese Navy Academy. He was recently elected as a Member of the European Parliament.

“Professor Dire Tladi is Professor of International Law at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. A former diplomat, he is a member of the UN International Law Commission.

“Senior Marine Resources Officer for the Bermuda Government, Dr. Tammy Trott, is a marine biologist and fisheries expert who is responsible for the management of all marine resources within Bermuda’s 200 mile exclusive economic zone.”

“The candidates were each nominated by Signatories to the Hamilton Declaration and the Government of Bermuda was charged with selecting the five Commissioners, of whom one is to be Bermudian, from a very strong field of candidates,” explained Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment Jeanne Atherden.

“The Hamilton Declaration requires they be, ‘distinguished scientists and other persons of international repute committed to the conservation of high seas ecosystems that would serve in their personal capacity’.”

“I should mention that the Commissioners are unpaid, do not represent governments, and will be assisted by a small Secretariat. The Commission will operate in a largely virtual setting allowing funds to be focused toward programmatic work,” said the Minister.

“The Sargasso Sea Commission is the creation of the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea signed in Bermuda on March 11, 2014.

“Five governments signed the Declaration, including Bermuda, the United States, the United Kingdom, Monaco, and The Azores; representatives from six additional governments also attended and are considering joining as Signatories.

“Under the terms of the Declaration, the Commission will not have any management authority but will instead recommend proposed measures for governments to submit and/or support at various international and regional organizations.”

“The Hamilton Declaration represents a rare oasis of joint voluntary action to protect this high seas gem,” said Kristina Gjerde, Chair of the SSA Executive Committee and IUCN Senior High Seas Policy Advisor.

“This is an historic step forward in our effort to conserve the Sargasso Sea and for high seas conservation globally. We are very excited about working with this very distinguished group of experts,” says Dr. David Freestone, Executive Secretary of the Sargasso Sea Commission.

“Since 2010, the Sargasso Sea Alliance [SSA], led by the Government of Bermuda, has pushed to establish safeguard measures for the Sargasso Sea, a unique two-million-square nautical mile ecosystem in the North Atlantic that is without effective legal protection, placing it at risk of long-lasting harm due to overfishing, pollution and more.”

For more information, visit the official website of the Sargasso Sea Alliance.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Onion says:

    Is this extra-legal?

    The Fisheries Act explicitly give the Fisheries Board the responsibility of advising the Minister on conservation in our EEZ.

  2. positivity says:

    What role will Blue Halo play?