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Greenpeace details plans for an ocean conservation hub in Bermuda

Next month, Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise will sail to Bermuda to conduct scientific research and document wildlife in the island’s surrounding ocean. The trip is part of a global initiative to promote the UN Global Ocean Treaty which was enacted last year.

For two weeks in May, the global conservationist organisation Greenpeace will visit the island of Bermuda to conduct research and survey wildlife in the Sargasso Sea.

The Sargasso Sea is a two-million square mile open ocean ecosystem, connected by the circulating currents of the North Atlantic Gyre. Situated right in its centre, Bermuda is responsible for managing and protecting a small part of its waters.

During its visit, Greenpeace aims to promote the creation of a high-seas ocean sanctuary in Bermuda, leveraging the signing of the UN’s Global Ocean Treaty last year.

The treaty – which was 10 years in the making – grants legal protection to 60 percent of the world’s oceans (also known as the high seas) from activities such as overfishing by industrial fleets, plastic dumping, and other forms of marine pollution.

Most of the vast Sargasso Sea falls under the category of the high seas, which have been somewhat lawless until recently. This is a problem, as this area contains a ‘rainforest of Sargassum seaweed’ which provides a unique and irreplaceable home for both endemic and endangered species, including young sea turtles.

Greenpeace is pushing for greater attention and conservation efforts in the region, calling upon Bermuda to use its extraordinary position by leading the charge.

Credit: Greenpeace

As part of the visit, Greenpeace is to host several events to meet with, inspire, and educate local Bermudians and stakeholders on the importance of marine conservation.

Its first event will take place on May 7th and is exclusively open to Bermudian students. Young people will be welcomed aboard the Arctic Sunrise for a tour, as well as to take part in educational sessions and conversations with environmental activists.

In the following weeks, there will be a clean-up event on the protected Non-Such Island, an open day for the public to visit the Arctic Sunrise, and a workshop day with members of the Bermudian government and marine experts to discuss the creation of a high sea’s ocean sanctuary.

This isn’t Greenpeace’s first visit to Bermuda, with a trip completed back in 2019.

During that visit, researchers identified the biggest threats to the island’s marine surroundings and assessed the impacts that plastics and microplastics are having on creatures living in the Sargasso Sea.

They were shocked to discover a higher presence of microplastic in the area than those found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

By building upon these findings, Greenpeace hopes to spark sustainable, long-lasting, and cooperative action to protect Bermuda’s surrounding waters, which support an ecosystem rich in biodiversity not found anywhere else in the world.