Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, Walter Roban, has announced “new funding” for the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Fund, known as the Ocean Fund.

Speaking at a news conference held yesterday, he said the Government hopes to raise $100 million in funds to be dedicated to blue economy industries, to support Bermudians in the field.

The Minister also stated that he has received an updated version of the Blue Prosperity Plan, which he plans to put before Cabinet for approval later this year. Submissions can be made up until the April 30 deadline.

“The plan includes many objectives to support and promote ocean industries, conservation and more, and provides information on new funding that will be available through the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Fund, also known as the Ocean Fund,” said Mr Roban.

“The fund will support the long-term sustainable growth of the blue economy industries and provide opportunities for Bermudians.

“I will give details about what we are doing around the fund when I have that information,” he added.

“We continue to discuss with a number of persons the formulation of the fund. I can confidently say that we have had considerable interest in the fund.”

Meanwhile, discussions with the US-based environmental group Waitt Institute with Government continue, as part of the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme (BOPP).

The BOPP was approved in 2019 in a tripartite agreement between the Government, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Waitt.

The Minister also released a video featuring members of the community, including commercial and recreational fishermen speaking in support of the BOPP plan.

An independent panel will review submissions which can be made online until April 30, to produce a report that will go before the Cabinet for consideration and approval later this year.

“The panel will first evaluate all the submissions received and then provide, myself, the minister, with a report that will include recommendations,” said Mr Roban.

“Once considered, I will select the ones that will be used to amend the Blue Prosperity Plan if required. The amended plan and its panel report will be introduced to the Cabinet for consideration and approval later this year.

“This plan is created by Bermudians for Bermudians.”

Moving forward, he said a variety of sources for investment will be sought to finance blue economy sectors, including sustainable fisheries, renewable energy and tourism.

It will also support the implementation of the Marine Spatial Plan.

Fund activities will be divided into two “sister” mechanisms:

• An investment programme, providing repayable and blended finance for investment-ready projects and an associated Green Fund.

• An incubator programme, providing grant support, business planning and technical assistance to develop a pipeline of projects that could feed into the investment programme.

And a new Marine Development Act (MDA) will be implemented to provide an outline of the legislative framework for the Blue Prosperity Plan.