The Bermuda Government is currently holding a public consultation regarding the creation of a marine reserve to protect the waters surrounding Bermuda. The reserve being considered would encompass a portion of Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends out 200 nautical miles from the island. If designated as such, these waters would be the equivalent of a national park and activities such as offshore fishing and seabed mining would be strictly prohibited. Bermuda has a long history of managing its marine resources and this measure would extend full protection to the area, including a significant portion of the Sargasso Sea’s unique ecosystem.
As residents of Bermuda comment on the proposed establishment of a “no take” marine reserve in the waters around Bermuda, BIOS is weighing in on the conversation with a position statement of its own:
As part of the team that contributed to the Summary Science and Supporting Evidence Case for the protection and management of the Sargasso Sea, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS) sees compelling reasons to create a marine reserve from 50nm off Bermuda’s coast to the edge of Bermuda’s EEZ at 200nm offshore. Based on the currently available scientific information, the establishment of such a reserve will yield direct, positive impacts on the fragile ecosystem of the Sargasso Sea and, in turn, the health of Bermuda’s near shore environment. In its ongoing advisory capacity, BIOS supports the “Blue Halo” initiative as an opportunity to take a pro-active approach in developing and implementing management procedures for the protection of this fundamentally important part of the world’s ocean.
Comments on the establishment of a marine protected area will be accepted until Thursday, October 31, 2013. To make your voice heard, visit the Sustainable Development Department’s consultation webpage. For more information on the proposal, including the scientific report, consultation FAQs, and potential economic impacts, please visit the Bermuda Blue Halo website.