Note from the Executive Secretary
Dr David Freestone
Executive Secretary
This special edition of the Sargasso Sea Commission newsletter is in celebration of World Oceans Day.

Today we recognize our partnerships around the world, as our work protecting the Sargasso Sea is inherently global. It is the only sea without a land boundary, and is connected to far-reaching parts of the world via major ocean currents and migratory species. Our policy work is global as well, with Signatory governments from ten countries and collaborating partners around the world. In fact, in the past few months we have traveled to Bermuda, Madrid, and Sweden to speak about conservation of this iconic ecosystem.
The Commission thanks each and every one of you for your support of our mission to conserve the Sargasso Sea - this World Oceans Day, and every day.
Next Steps to Strengthen Stewardship of the Sargasso Sea
In March 2019, the Sargasso Sea Commission returned to Bermuda to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea, alongside its Signatory governments and collaborating partners. To coincide with this milestone, the Sargasso Sea Commission hosted a workshop at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, to discuss “Next Steps to Strengthen Stewardship of the Sargasso Sea”, from 13-15 March. We are grateful to Fisheries & Oceans Canada and the Government of Bermuda for their support for this meeting.
BBNJ Side Event
The Sargasso Sea Commission, with support from the Canadian Government, hosted a side event at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on 3 April to report on the outcomes of the March 2019 Workshop. This included a review of the progress of the Sargasso Sea Commission's work programme to date, and options to build on the success of the Hamilton Declaration, with a view to strengthening the stewardship of the Sargasso Sea in the future.

Efforts towards strengthening stewardship of the Sargasso Sea could provide useful lessons with respect to managing and conserving marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, including the application of ecosystem-based management, and cooperation in spatial management of human activities in high seas. Speakers at the side event included Executive Secretary Dr David Freestone, Ms Nadia Bouffard of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, and Ambassador David Balton from the Woodrow Wilson Center.
National Geographic feature
The June 2019 edition of National Geographic magazine includes an article titled "Life in the North Atlantic depends on this floating seaweed" , authored by Sargasso Sea Ambassador James Prosek, with photography by fellow Ambassador David Doubilet. The article describes the complex ecosystem of Sargassum as a "mobile shelter and moveable feast." "There's nowhere else on our blue planet that supports such diversity in the middle of the ocean- and it's because of the weed," says marine biologist Dr Brian Lapointe, who is quoted in the article.
Monaco Blue Initiative
Commissioners Howard Roe and Mark Spalding both attended the Monaco Blue Initiative convened on 25 March, at the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco. Over 140 participants gathered to discuss topics related to this year's theme of Marine Protected Areas. Commissioner Spalding was a panelist during a session which discussed how to collectively continue developing MPAs whilst ensuring their efficiency.  
Sargassum panel
On 19 March, Executive Secretary Dr David Freestone and Commissioner Mark Spalding were both panelists for " Sargassum : An Environmental Threat?" which was hosted by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development and the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival, as part of the 2019 Environmental Film Festival in Washington, DC. Collaborating Partners Dr Don Johnson from the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and Dr Chuanmin Hu from the University of South Florida also participated on the panel, which covered the importance of Sargassum , monitoring, and innovative methods to manage coastal inundations.
Coral Reefs of the High Seas meeting
From 15-17 May, Programme Manager Tess Mackey attended the kick-off meeting for the Coral Reefs of the High Seas Initiative in Denver, Colorado. SSPI Board Chair Kristina Gjerde and Sargasso Sea Ambassador Dr Sylvia Earle were also in attendance. This meeting convened scientists, policymakers, and communication specialists to develop a two-year strategy to conduct targeted scientific exploration, advance international policy, and raise the necessary political support to establish the first large-scale conservation area to protect coral reefs on the high seas.
Sargasso On-the-Go
Nonsuch Island excursion

On the final day of the Next Steps for Strengthening Stewardship of the Sargasso Sea workshop, participants had the opportunity to take part in an afternoon excursion to Nonsuch Island with Nonsuch Expeditions . These participants had the rare opportunity to observe a scheduled nest check for two of the new Cahow chicks, as well as observe some of the species living in  Sargassum
43rd COLP Annual Conference

Dr David Freestone moderated a panel on cross-cutting issues at Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction: Intractable Challenges & Potential Solutions in Malmö, Sweden, from 15-16 May. This conference was sponsored by t he Center for Oceans Law and Policy, UVA School of Law, WMU–Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, and The Nippon Foundation.
SEA Symposium

Executive Secretary Dr David Freestone and SSPI Board Chair Ms Kristina Gjerde were panelists at the Sea Education Association's annual Marine Biodiversity & Conservation Symposium on 23-24 June. This is the capstone experience for SEA students, where they have the opportunity to present their research. This year's theme was Ocean Literacy for Remote Ocean Regions.
Thank you for supporting our mission to protect the Sargasso Sea. We truly appreciate all of the donations and support that we have received over the years -- without which the Sargasso Sea Commission would not exist.