Local biologist appointed to Sargasso Sea Commission

A Bermudian marine biologist has been appointed to an international watchdog body dedicated to protecting a unique ocean habitat.

Bermuda Government senior marine… resources officer Dr Tammy Trott is one of five scientists appointed to the first Sargasso Sea Commission — which aims to conserve the sargassum seaweed ecosystem.

Dr Trott will join oceanographer Professor Howard Roe, emeritus professor and former director of the Southampton Oceanography Centre in the UK, and Dr Billy Causey, an American marine biologist from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations office of national marine sanctuaries.

Professor Ricardo Serrao Santos, professor of the marine ecology at the University of the Azores-Horta, was recently elected as a member of the European Parliament.

Former diplomat and law professor Dire Tladi, of the University of Pretoria in South Africa, is a member of the UN International Law Commission.

The Sargasso Sea Commission was set up in the wake of the Hamilton Declaration, signed in Bermuda earlier this year.

A total of five governments — Bermuda, the UK, US, Monaco and the Azores — signed up to launch an international effort to conserve the Sargasso Sea, a two-million square nautical mile area, which is a breeding ground for turtles and eels.

A further six governments also attended the declaration signing and are considering joining up themselves.

The commission, although it does not have management powers, will recommend proposed measures for governments to support at a variety of international and regional forums.

Chairman of the Sargasso Sea Alliance executive committee Kristina Gjerde said: “The Hamilton Declaration represents a rare oasis of joint voluntary action to protect this high seas gem.”

Sargasso Sea Commission executive secretary Dr David Freestone added: “This is a historic step forward in our effort to conserve the Sargasso Sea and for high seas conservation globally.

“We are very excited at working with this very distinguished group of global experts.”

The five commissioners, who will be unpaid and operate in a virtual setting, allowing funds to be focused on conservation programmes.

Minister for Health, Seniors and Environment Jeanne Atherden said the Bermuda Government selected the five experts from “a very strong field of candidates.”

She added: “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.”

 

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