June 5, 2012

Dr. Earle spoke at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) last Thursday  to emphasize the importance of Bermuda’s role in conserving the Sargasso Sea — what Dr. Earle has called “the golden rainforest of the ocean.” 

The Sargasso Sea is an open-ocean ecosystem that supports a large and extraordinary whorl of golden-brown Sargassum seaweed that spirals within the North Atlantic sub-tropical gyre near Bermuda. Large mats of Sargassum float over an area comparable to the size of the United States and provide vital habitat, spawning and feeding grounds, and migration routes to numerous species – many of which are endangered, endemic, and/or commercially important (Sargasso Sea Alliance, 2012).

Dr. Earle’s talk at BUEI was hosted by the Bermuda Young President’s Organization, and coincided with ongoing efforts by the Pew Environment Group (who sponsored the evening lecture) and Bermuda’s Government to create a large “donut-shaped” marine reserve within Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to protect the Sargasso Sea and Bermuda’s other vital and threatened marine resources – a project called the “Bermuda Blue Halo initiative.” The proposed no-take marine reserve would be the largest of its kind in the Atlantic Ocean.

Click above to view a video about the Bermuda Blue Halo initiative featuring Cartoonist Jim Toomey

Dr. Earle spoke alongside Dr. Richard Rockefeller – Chairman of the Board of Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Executive Committee of the Sargasso Sea Alliance – and Jay Nelson – director of the Pew Environment Group’s Global Ocean Legacy project and the Bermuda Blue Halo initiative, which is urging the Bermudan Government to create the Blue Halo reserve within the next year.

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