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Case for Protection

The protection and management of the Sargasso Sea:The golden floating rainforest of the Atlantic Ocean-Summary Science and Supporting Evidence Case

Click here to download PDF of report.

Click here to download summary brochure.


The Sargasso Sea is a haven of biodiversity and there is growing recognition of the crucial role it plays in the wider North Atlantic ecosystem as habitat, foraging and spawning grounds, and as a migratory corridor. The Sargasso Sea supports a range of endemic species and plays a critical role in supporting the life cycle of a number of threatened and endangered species such as the Porbeagle shark, the American and the European eel, as well as billfish, tuna and several species of turtle, migratory birds and cetaceans. There is emerging recognition of the crucial role it plays in the wider ecosystem ranging from the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

  • The Sargassum mats are home to many endemic species and provide a protective ‘nursery’ for juvenile fish and turtles.
  • Endangered European and American eels migrate to the Sargasso to breed. Wahoo, tuna and other pelagic fish forage in and migrate through the Sea, as do a number of whale species, notably sperm whales and humpbacks.
  • This system is under increasing pressure by myriad human uses that threaten both the habitat and the species the Sargasso supports. 

Just as the Sargasso Sea supports a number of species, it is also faced with several stressors that threaten the long-term viability and health of the ecosystem. 

Some of these threats may include:

  • Oil, bilge and ballast water discharge from ships
  • Concentrations of non-biodegradable plastic waste from ship and land-based sources
  • Negative impacts of fishing (e.g. bycatch and habitat impacts)
  • Harvesting of Sargassum algae for fertilizer and bio fuel
  • Seabed mining      
  • Climate change
  • Ocean acidification

The Alliance continues to work to better understand the extent to which these, and other, threats impact the Sargasso to develop a roadmap for increased protections.   


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Latest News

  • December 2013 Newsletter available

    In this issue:  (1) Hamilton Declaration negotiations progress, (2) UN General Assembly Resolution notes Alliance, (3) Focus on fisheries, (4) Collaboration Arrangements furthered, (5) Sargasso Sea highlighted at IMPAC3, (6) SSA Science Report series available online, (7) Bermuda discusses protections in EEZ, and (8) Publications. 


  • Sargasso Sea Alliance featured in recent IUCN’s “Marine News” publication

    The Sargasso Sea Alliance is featured in the latest edition of “Marine News ”, published by the IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme (GMPP), which was recently distributed at the International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) in Marseille, France.  ...

Sargasso Sea

from the album

Silver Ship

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© Musical International, Inc. 2012 All Rights Reserved
Composed & performed by Suzanne Ciani
Cello performed by Joseph Hebert

Special thanks to Ms. Ciani!


Sargasso Sea Alliance
1630 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20009

info@sargassoalliance.org(202) 518-2071