Friday, September 24, 2010
By Jonathan Bell - The Royal Gazette - link
Bermuda's pivotal role in efforts to declare the Sargasso Sea a marine protected area (MPA) will appear in Time magazine, Environment Minister Glenn Blakeney yesterday revealed.
The Island is said to feature prominently in an article by Bryan Walsh the writer also profiled the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences in the online version of Time following his visit earlier this month.
The MPA initiative was first mentioned during February's Budget by Deputy Premier Paula Cox. Mr. Blakeney said it had been deliberately kept "relatively quiet" until yesterday.
"This is an ambitious project, and we didn't want to announce it with fanfare only to stumble at the first hurdle," he said, adding there was now the momentum, support and partners to make it happen.
The MPA project would create one of the largest protected areas of ocean on the planet, the Minister added. No further details were given.
"As Bermuda is the only land mass within the Sargasso Sea, our local scientific and environmental community, in partnership with the foreign Commonwealth Office, Bermuda Government and overseas organisations, set about making this MPA a reality."
He continued: "We simply couldn't ask for better publicity ... potentially tens of millions of people around the world will this week read about Bermuda and the environmental research for which we are becoming world leaders."
Premier Ewart Brown was also in attendance, and said: "When an international publication of the calibre and reputation of Time takes interest in our Island and positive work coming from the Ministry of the Environment, it is good news for Bermuda.
"With the coming threat of dramatic global environmental change, it is clear that the nations of the world must unite to protect vulnerable ecosystems. With so few of the world's oceans being protected, this is an important cause, and one with which Bermuda is proud to be associated."
Bermuda's team of scientific contributors includes Fred Ming, Philippe Rouja, Sheila McKenna and Tammy Trott.
Asked for details of when the MPA might be formally declared, Dr. Ming said that sensitive negotiations were ongoing with the UK Government, and that it was "far too early in the process to offer a prediction".
"We are breaking new ground," he added. "I am already convinced the journey will be almost as amazing as the prize itself."