News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – The results of the Ocean Use Survey, conducted by the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme (BOPP) from September 2020 to February 2021, are now available to the public: https://www.bermudaoceanprosperity.org/oceanusesurvey

The survey results are displayed in a series of heatmaps, one map for each type of ocean use that was surveyed. Those uses are: 

  • Commercial Fishing

  • Recreational Fishing

  • Aquaculture

  • Utilities, Infrastructure, and Shipping

  • Tourism and Boating

  • Swimming, Snorkeling, and Diving

  • Passive Recreation and Conservation

The heatmaps help to show where Bermuda’s marine environment has frequent and overlapping use. In addition, survey respondents were asked to assign a numeric value to the areas identified. Value could mean frequent use, most favoured, or any other metric the respondent considered. For example, someone may have labeled an area as having high value because it was their favourite dive spot or most reliable fishing area.

Likewise, someone may have labeled an area lower value because they visit it far less frequently than their more favorite dive spot or fishing areas. The heat maps reflect both the areas identified and the assigned value of those areas. This creates a holistic picture of the people and industries out in Bermuda’s waters, so that various points of view are considered as BOPP begins its Marine Spatial Planning process.

“The enthusiasm from and input into the Ocean Use Survey from local Bermudians has been phenomenal. The importance of their contributions cannot be overstated, as their responses will be used to help determine how to manage Bermuda’s marine environment while minimizing conflict between ocean users,” said Sarah Brooks, Marine Spatial Planning Specialist for BOPP.

Graphic: environment.bm

The results from the Ocean Use Survey will help BOPP understand important areas for industry, conservation, fishing, and recreation and will be combined with other data sets to inform Bermuda’s Marine Spatial Plan. The Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme endeavored to reach as many people as possible for the survey within the timeline. Before the results were released, the heatmaps underwent a vetting process with stakeholders to ensure accuracy. More details on the maps and methodology can be found in the linked report. 

There will be many more opportunities to provide input to BOPP about the planning process and we welcome your participation.

Minister of Home Affairs, Walter Roban has stressed the importance of public participation, saying: “Stakeholder engagement is a critical component to the success of the Programme: It is important that we hear from you about what kind of future you wish to see for Bermuda. We will continue to engage with stakeholders regarding the Draft Marine Spatial Plan that is being developed. Connecting with communities throughout the process to further share BOPP’s mission, answering questions, and ensuring every voice is heard is a top priority.” 

Please visit the BOPP website for more information.

About Marine Spatial Planning

Marine Spatial Planning is a public process that uses spatial information about natural resources and human uses to develop a comprehensive management system to maximize human and environmental wellbeing. BOPP will combine the Ocean Use Survey data with ecological data like coral cover, fish species density, water quality, and existing marine protected areas, along with information about infrastructure like shipping lanes. Data will then be measured against the Principals, Goals, and Objectives developed by the BOPP Steering Committee, Science Committee, and stakeholder groups. The result will be a series of prospective marine plans that will be evaluated and amended by the BOPP Steering Committee, stakeholders, and public, before a final draft goes to the Government of Bermuda for adoption. The final draft will include the possible placements for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) or other ocean uses, as well as a management plan to improve livelihoods, bolster environmental health, and support community ocean use.  

  • More on the Ocean Use Survey Methodology: BOPP partnered with the University of California, Santa Barbara’s McClintock Lab to conduct this Ocean Use Survey using two online platforms: SeaSketch and Maptionnaire. Some responses were also collected on paper maps by facilitators, which were later uploaded and digitized into the SeaSketch platform. Respondents, categorized into seven main marine sectors, identified ocean areas in Bermuda that they use, and assigned values to those areas. Targets for overall responses were exceeded almost four times over, with a total of 1,488 responses collected. The targets could not have been achieved without the countless hours of dedication from the survey volunteers and the Ocean Village. The Ocean Village is composed of stakeholders in Bermuda that have a specific interest and perspective regarding Bermuda’s ocean environment.
  • About BOPP: BOPP is an inclusive initiative to support sustainable growth of our ocean economies while maintaining the health of the ocean from now into the future. Led by the Government of Bermuda, in collaboration with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and the Waitt Institute, this partnership has vowed to identify sustainable economic growth possibilities for ocean industries like fishing and tourism, as well as create a binding marine spatial plan to sustainably manage Bermuda’s ocean environment. The partnership also commits to preserving 20 percent of Bermuda’s waters as fully protected fisheries replenishment zones to support ocean livelihoods well into the future.

Get involved:

Website: https://www.bermudaoceanprosperity.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BermudaOceanProsperity/

Instagram: @BermudaOceanProsperity

Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCv0Ef5KIcG6vtOfSCOGnE4g