Experts Appointed To Sargasso Sea Commission

September 23, 2021

The Bermuda Cabinet approved the appointment of three international experts to the Sargasso Sea Commission on Tuesday [Sept 21], including Mark Spalding, Professor Stephen de Mora, and Dr Ana Colaço.

A Government spokesperson said, “On September 21, 2021, the Bermuda Cabinet approved the appointment of three international experts to the Sargasso Sea Commission, established by the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea, signed in Bermuda on March 11, 2014.

A Look At The Sargasso Sea [footage courtesy of Greenpeace]:

“The three incoming Commissioners are the President of The Ocean Foundation, Mr Mark Spalding, former Chief Executive of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Professor Stephen de Mora [both re-appointed for a third term], and Dr Ana Colaço, a distinguished deep-sea ecologist at the University of Azores.

“Dr Ana Colaço’s first-time appointment to the Commission brings valuable diversity to the panel as her background balances deep-sea scientific work and international cooperation efforts. She has been chief scientist on numerous oceanographic cruises and managed many scientific projects related to hydrothermal vent ecosystems, trophic ecology of deep-sea systems, benthic ecology, biodiversity, and conservation.

“Dr. Colaco is experienced in international cooperation at the European level and overseas, involved with the International Council for the Exploitation of the Sea [ICES], the International Seabed Authority [ISA], and the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative [DOSI].

“She has also contributed to the second UN World Ocean Assessment and numerous other publications, education and outreach initiatives related to deep-sea conservation.

“The Declaration requires Commissioners to be ‘distinguished scientists and other persons of international repute committed to the conservation of high seas ecosystems that would serve in their personal capacity.’ The new Commissioners will work alongside current Commissioners, Professor Howard Roe, Dr Tammy Warren, Senator Wilfred Moore, and Mrs. Rochelle Newbold.”

Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban said, “Bermuda is pleased to support the important work of the Sargasso Sea Commission by appointing three Commissioners with formidable scientific expertise and a clear commitment to conservation.”

Executive Secretary of the Sargasso Sea Commission, Dr. David Freestone, said, “We are very pleased to continue working with Commissioners Spalding and de Mora, and delighted to welcome new Commissioner, Dr Ana Colaço. She is the third woman Commissioner to be appointed, and her scientific expertise will prove a valuable asset.”

The spokesperson said, “The Sargasso Sea Commission is unique in that it is appointed by the Government of Bermuda, with the support of Government Signatories of the Hamilton Declaration. Its formal role is to act as the steward of this iconic high seas ecosystem, keep its health, productivity, and resilience under review, and develop safeguard measures for its conservation.

“Also, the organisation’s innovative approach to appointing Commissioners involves identifying suitable individuals with scientific expertise and the ability to serve in their personal capacity, rather than representatives of the signatory governments.

“As of September 2021, the ten signatory governments to the Hamilton Declaration include the Azores, The Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, the Principality of Monaco, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Commission celebrated its fifth anniversary in March 2019 with a workshop held at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.”

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