Jay Nelson is the director of the Global Ocean Legacy project.
To the Editor:
Several of Andrew Cox’s statements about the Pew Environment Group (PEG) and its support for the proposed Bermuda Blue Halo
project (“The Blue Halo: No-Take Zones Restrict Future Exploration,” October 2012) are inaccurate and misleading. Allow me to correct the record.
The proposal to designate a highly protected marine reserve around Bermuda developed from the Bermuda government’s concern about the health of the Sargasso Sea. Working with a number of partners, the government initiated two visionary conservation efforts: one to protect the international waters of the Sargasso Sea and another to establish a highly protected marine reserve—the Blue Halo—in Bermuda’s exclusive economic zone.
The government invited PEG’s Global Ocean Legacy project to assist with the protection of Bermuda’s waters. We are honored to join Bermudians on this conservation initiative and are proud of our record of working closely with governments and local communities globally, such as with Australia’s Coral Sea, to help conserve special places in our oceans. A highly protected Blue Halo—starting beyond the area typically fished by locals and visitors—would offer a buffer zone to better enable fish populations to thrive. In addition, the Blue Halo will serve as a critical first step in a broader global effort to protect the international waters of the Sargasso Sea.
The article inaccurately portrayed our efforts to protect the Coral Sea
. Under the Australian government’s Coral Sea Marine Reserve proposal, waters closed to recreational fishing are more than 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the coast, leaving hundreds of thousands of square kilometers open to recreational fishing. If the proposed reserve is not established, the entire Coral Sea will remain vulnerable to increased commercial fishing, to the detriment of recreational fishers.
The Bermuda government’s public consultation regarding conservation measures in the country’s waters has not begun, and the size and shape of the marine reserve has not been decided. The reserve will be determined only after Bermudians have their say through the consultation. We believe that everyone with a vested interest in the outcome should participate in this process when it occurs. Jay Nelson
Director, Global Ocean Legacy