Please see remarks delivered by Minister of Home Affairs, Walter Roban after the official signing of the MOU that will introduce the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme:
We have just completed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will introduce the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme in Bermuda.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, along with the WAITT Foundation and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences are all partners in this project – and I am encouraged by the work that we will do together.
Today, I am pleased to welcome Mr. Ted WAITT, Founder and Chairman of the WAITT Institute and Dr. William Curry, CEO of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, or BIOS.
The signing of this MOU signals a few key developments with regards to our economy, ocean spaces and the preservation of our environment at-large.
Foremost Bermuda will develop and implement an integrated marine spatial plan, similar to the terrestrially based Bermuda Plan 2018 currently under development, by 2021. This will include the entirety of Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone; which stretches 200 nautical miles off shore and totals some 465,000 square kilometers.
This plan, which will be scientifically informed, will foster economic growth by developing an integrated approach to building sustainable ocean industries, such as wind and wave renewable energy solutions and will implement sustainable fisheries policies and programs that create positive incentives to encourage responsible fishing.
It is important to me that the marine spatial plan be an open and inclusive process. Therefore over the next 30 months, as the plan develops, stakeholders and the public can expect to be fully involved in the consultation process.
The Bermuda Government is committed to achieving the highest standard of marine protection, which is essential to building ocean resilience, while at the same time ensuring economic resilience. This agreement details the Government’s commitment to protect at least 20% of our Exclusive Economic Zone, which equates to 90,000 square kilometers out of the total of our 465,000 square kilometers. These areas will be determined through the upcoming consultation process. This protection will create optimal conditions for the improvement of ocean industries like fishing and tourism – while ensuring environmental sustainability of our coastal and ocean areas.
This programme will support the Government’s stated goals of economic growth and diversification - while ensuring that Bermuda’s environment and beauty are preserved. Further a marine spatial plan will support the Government’s aim to incorporate environmental considerations in all Government decision making, and for environmental impact studies to be conducted on all major, and unusual marine developments and projects.
I want to sincerely thank Mr. Waitt for his commitment and that of the WAITT Foundation to provide the funding, expertise and capacity needed to complete this critical work. This project will no doubt leave a lasting legacy of sustainability and economic growth in Bermuda for generations to come.
I would also like to thank Dr. Curry and his team at BIOS for their expertise and knowledge that have been key to this process.
Last but certainly not least, I would like to commend the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for their diligence and direction on this programme as well.
In closing, I would like to draw attention to the fact that today is World Environment Day and thus, I find the signing of this MOU quite fitting and timely. The Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme reaffirms this Ministry’s commitment a clean, sustainable and eco-friendly Bermuda. Today is a proud day for us all.
I will now turn it over to Mr. Ted Waitt.