Monday, 17 March 2014

UK signs up to protect the Sargasso Sea

Posted by: Kevin Heath / 3 days ago

The UK has joined other countries in signing up to an agreement to protect the unique habitat of the Sargasso Sea. The Sargasso is a region of the North Atlantic that is dominated by the sargassum seaweed and is an important breeding and feeding ground for many species.

The boundaries of the Sargasso Sea are marked by major Atlantic Ocean currents:
to the north lies the North Atlantic current
to the east lies the Canary current
to the south lies the North Atlantic Equatorial current and
to the west lies the Gulf Stream.

This unique sea within an ocean plays an important role in many species life-cycle. The European and American eels go to the Sargasso to lay eggs and the larvae mature there until ready to make the long migrations back to the rivers. Loggerhead sea turtles also make their way to the Sargasso Sea to make use of the seaweed to hide from predators until they mature.

Unfortunately the currents that have made the Sargasso into such a rich marine resource are also putting the sea at risk. As well as carrying wildlife and nutrients the currents are carrying rubbish into the region and it is the location of the North Atlantic Garbage Patch. This is a concentration of non-biodegradable plastics that have accumulated in the middle of the ocean. The currents also bring with them other pollutants such as oil and shipping hold washout waste.

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