A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by the Government that will introduce the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme in Bermuda.
Speaking a news conference on Wednesday, Home Affairs Minister Walter Roban said he “encouraged” by the work government “will do together” with the WAITT Foundation and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences – all partners in this project.
Joined by Ted WAITT, Founder and Chairman of the WAITT Institute and Dr William Curry, CEO of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, or BIOS, Mr Roban said: “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.
“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.”
The Minister also thanked the founder and the WAITT Foundation for providing “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, he also noted that June 5 was World Environment Day, and in light of that he added: “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.”
Mr Waitt noted that “Bermuda has a long and robust history of ocean management and research, starting with the protection of sea turtles in the early 1600s”.
“The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences has been in Bermuda in one form or another for more than 100 years,” he added.
“Among its most notable achievements is the development of a decades-long series of measurements of the deep ocean and climate conditions, as well as a more detailed and comprehensive picture of Bermuda’s nearshore marine ecosystems. These activities support not only the advancement of knowledge about our local and global environments, but also benefit local policy-making, education, and conservation.
“Our contributions, whether in collaboration with the Government of Bermuda or with international partners, means that Bermuda continues to be a hub of scientific and educational activity that contributes to our understanding of threats to the ocean and the increasing risks posed by climate change.
“The Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme will ensure this legacy lives on by leveraging current scientific understanding to preserve marine biodiversity for both its intrinsic environmental benefit, and its socioeconomic value. BIOS is pleased to be a part of this initiative that will no doubt serve as a model for other countries around the world.”