Public input is being incorporated to strengthen the Blue Prosperity Plan
The Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme (BOPP) has just released the public feedback collected from Bermuda residents during the consultation period for the Blue Prosperity Plan, a strategy to holistically manage and protect Bermuda’s ocean.
“The Blue Prosperity Plan is an investment in Bermuda’s most valuable resource, its ocean environment. This strategy aims to make the best use of Bermuda’s reef platform and surrounding ocean in a way that’s sustainable for current and future generations,” said the Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Walter Roban, JP, MP.
“The valuable input from hundreds of Bermuda residents who use the ocean in different ways is helping to guide further refinement of the Blue Prosperity Plan.”
The Draft Blue Prosperity Plan is designed to benefit everyone who calls Bermuda home, because a healthy ocean is necessary to support our lifestyle and livelihoods, tourism, food security, and climate resilience, both now and for future generations. The Draft Plan comprises a Marine Spatial Plan and a Blue Economy Strategy.
The Draft Marine Spatial Plan fully protects 20% of Bermuda’s waters across different habitats. It includes important spawning grounds and nursery habitats, such as mangroves, seagrasses and patch reefs that provide safe havens for fish to reproduce and grow, enhancing our fish stocks. These areas also protect Bermuda’s underwater cultural heritage and help to ensure the long-term sustainable use of ocean resources. The Draft Marine Spatial Plan also calls for environmental impact assessments for any proposed development in the marine environment, helping decision makers to weigh the costs and benefits of development plans.
The Draft Blue Economy Strategy aims to help grow ocean-related businesses and industries, such as marine tourism, that rely on the sustainable management of these resources. By providing a suite of investable local projects and a legislated governance model, the Blue Economy Strategy will increase job and training opportunities in Bermuda while enhancing ocean health.
From 12 September through 31 December 2022, comments on the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan were collected through various online and in-person platforms, including the Bermuda Citizens Forum, public consultations, surveys, email, public events, stakeholder group presentations, and one-on-one sessions. All public feedback was compiled and is being reviewed by the BOPP Steering Committee to inform the next draft of the Blue Prosperity Plan. In addition, this feedback was made anonymous and is available for public viewing on the BOPP website (https://www.bermudaoceanprosperity.org/).
The BOPP team would like to thank everyone who participated in and provided feedback during this second public consultation period.
The Programme acknowledges and appreciates the continued feedback from Bermuda’s commercial fishermen, including detailed input on the placement of proposed protected areas gathered during 41 one-on-one meetings. In addition, many of the original objectives of the Marine Spatial Plan aligned with their requests and were strengthened due to their feedback.
The fishermen’s input is valuable and necessary in creating a long-term strategy to ensure the sustainability of Bermuda's ocean resources. BOPP looks forward to working with the commercial fishing community in the next stakeholder engagement phase.
In the coming months, BOPP will host a series of focus groups themed around Blue Prosperity Plan priorities and key points of public feedback. Planned topics include:
- The Marine Spatial Plan’s proposed marine protected area network;
- Enforcement and monitoring in the marine environment; and,
- The blue economy goals.
Further online public engagement will accompany the focus groups and provide additional opportunities to comment on these aspects of the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan through the Bermuda Citizens Forum.
This additional feedback will be combined with focus group outcomes and provided to the BOPP Steering Committee in order to further refine the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan. A second draft will be prepared and released for public viewing later this year.
For more information, visit BermudaOceanProsperity.org.