11 countries have come together to voice their support for a unique ecosystem – the Sargasso Sea. Find out why it matters.

Blanketing 72% of our planet, the ocean is the largest ecosystem and a critical support system for life on earth. 

The legendary oceanographer and OceanElder, Sylvia Earle, described it as the “golden rainforest of the sea” because of its vast floating islands of Sargassum seaweed. 

Sailfish, sharks, tuna, turtles, eels and manta rays inhabit or migrate through it, above the surface, sea birds feed from it, and way below in the deep, vast populations of phytoplankton and other microorganisms thrive.

The Sargasso Sea is a unique and precious ecosystem, so we’re very pleased to be able to share the news that after two years of negotiations, it gained protection last week in a historic international pact.

Blanketing 72% of our planet, the ocean is the largest ecosystem and a critical support system for life on earth. The majority of the Sargasso Sea is in what is called the ‘high seas’ – those waters beyond national jurisdiction.

This means they suffer from a lack of effective governance, so the creation of the Sargasso Sea Commission offers a potential roadmap for high seas stewardship worldwide.

In common with much of the high seas, the Sargasso Sea faces challenges in the form of overfishing, pollution, and acidification as a result of climate change. 

Environmental protection has been a key component of my work for human security and peace over the past 35 years. A protection declaration for the Sargasso Sea will be a historic step towards better governance and conservation needed for the world's vast and vital high seas.

- Queen Noor of Jordan, OceanElders 

The Hamilton Declaration, as it’s called, establishes a Sargasso Sea Commission to provide advice and advocacy to ensure effective stewardship.

This is good news for the Sargasso Sea and will hopefully set a precedent for better management of other high seas ecosystems around the world.

OceanElders applauds the creative approach and success of the Sargasso Sea Alliance and hopes to see success in similar initiatives around the world. 

  • Find out more about it in this great film created by the Sargasso Sea Alliance.
  • Read an interview with Ocean Elder Sylvia Earle about the Sargasso Sea and the Declaration.