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Marine conservation expert praises Bahamas

Sylvia Earle (pictured below), founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (SEA), has praised The Bahamas' initiative to protect 20 per cent of its near-shore marine environment and has urged greater collaboration on ocean protection in the region. 

Friday, June 15, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012

Ministry for Grand BahamaSylvia Earle, founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (SEA), has praised the government of The Bahamas for showing leadership in marine conservation and especially for its commitment to protect 20 per cent of the near-shore marine environment throughout the jurisdiction during the next ten years.

Earle made the comments during a courtesy call to newly appointed Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett in May.

The marine conservation expert urged The Bahamas to consider further protection of the areas within The Bahamian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), referencing the Sargasso Sea Alliance and opportunities related to this initiative to save and protect the Sargasso Sea, which she considers to be the heart of the Atlantic.

“About half the world consists of the high seas; it is controlled by only about eight nations. Countries such as The Bahamas and Bermuda have an opportunity to join forces to protect the Sargasso Sea.”

Earle was in The Bahamas at the end of May to join a joint expedition with The Nature Conservancy to explore the offshore waters of the Exuma Cays and Conception Island.

“If the ocean is in trouble, then we’re in trouble. If we wait another 50 years to act, it’s going to be too late,” she said.

“This is the sweet spot in time. Never have we known what we know now and never again will we have the chance to act on opportunities that will soon be gone. The time to act is now.”

Minister Dorsett thanked Earle for her commitment to the environment and for all she has done to protect the oceans globally.

“Here in the Ministry of the Environment we are only as strong as our partners in this network to advance protection of our environment and we realize that education is a critical component of this process,” he said.

The purpose of SEA is to explore and care for the ocean. It is committed to inspiring a change in public awareness, access and support for marine protected areas worldwide, ranging from the deep ocean to shallow reefs.

Under Earle’s leadership, the SEA team has embarked on a series of expeditions to further this vision. SEA also brings the discoveries and stories of a network of ocean experts to the public through documentaries, social and traditional media, and innovative tools such as Google Earth’s Explore the Ocean.

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy has a presence in all 50 states of the US and more than 30 countries, as well as a membership base of over one million.

Having worked in the Caribbean since 1975, the Conservancy’s Caribbean Program currently employs more than 60 full-time staff, across Florida, The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Washington DC.

The Nature Conservancy’s first significant activity in The Bahamas began in 2000 when it launched the Parks Partnership Project in partnership with the Bacardi Family Foundation.

The project’s goal was to improve the management of The Bahamas’ marine environment by building organizational capacity and strengthening park management on the ground and in the water. The project was instrumental in helping expand the capacity of the Bahamas National Trust, while also establishing The Nature Conservancy’s presence in The Bahamas.

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