The following statement was released on April 25 on behalf of the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme…
Learn how public feedback is being incorporated and how you can participate in the ongoing conversation.
In late April, the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme (BOPP) will begin a period of focused response on the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan. This holistic approach to managing and protecting Bermuda’s ocean comprises a Marine Spatial Plan and a Blue Economy Strategy. These complementary documents work together to create jobs, grow investment and business opportunities in marine industries, and support the long-term sustainable use of ocean resources. The Draft Blue Prosperity Plan recognises that the ocean is the cornerstone of Bermuda’s culture. Its health is vital to maintaining our livelihoods, tourism industry, food security, and climate resilience – for both current and future generations.
During the recent public consultation, which concluded on December 31, 2022, hundreds of Bermuda residents provided feedback on what they felt were the most important issues regarding the best uses of the local marine environment, and how to protect and sustainably manage its resources.
“Bermuda’s concerns about the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan have been heard, and we look forward to sharing how the Draft Plan has been updated,” said Andrew Pettit, Director of the Bermuda Government Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “To further engage local stakeholders, we will host additional opportunities to explore key topics highlighted in the public feedback and conversations that took place around the community.”
Topics covered during this period will include:
● Maritime enforcement
● Licensing and monitoring
● The blue economy
● Proposed maps for marine protected areas
Beginning April 18, Bermuda residents can go online at bermudaoceanprosperity.org/online-engagement to learn about the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan updates and participate in the ongoing conversation about these critical issues. Each week, from April 18 through May 30, new information on these key topics will be available on the website, along with corresponding short surveys. All surveys will close on June 13, 2023.
Visit BermudaOceanProsperity.org or the Bermuda Citizens Forum to learn more about these topics from the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan and view the feedback received during public consultation.
In tandem, BOPP will host a series of focus groups bringing together stakeholders that have been closely involved in creating the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan, including members of the Steering Committee, the Science Committee, and the BOPP Ocean Village. The focus groups were designed to explore and share the priorities, opportunities, challenges, or gaps identified by stakeholders and clarify the additional details. Outcomes from the sessions, including strategic recommendations on key topics, will help inform the next draft of the Blue Prosperity Plan, which will be released later this year.
BOPP created these additional engagement opportunities to ensure the Blue Prosperity Plan reflects the community’s priorities and benefits all of Bermuda’s residents. The input from multiple stakeholders representing diverse industries and interests, including aquaculture, conservation, commercial fishing, diving, tourism, and utilities, continue to guide The Draft Plan.
While Government and the Fishermen’s Association of Bermuda (FAB) continue to negotiate key points, there is agreement that enforcement and licensing are critical to understanding and regulating the island’s fisheries – both commercial and recreational. Therefore, FAB will be attending the first two focus groups on those subjects, and hope to finalize negotiations, particularly relating to the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between Government and FAB, to be able to continue to participate in furthering the Plan’s development.