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  • What is the Blue Prosperity Plan?
    Bermuda’s Blue Prosperity Plan represents the culmination of a four-year planning and public review process led by the people of Bermuda. Bermuda seeks a future where its marine waters contain healthy ecosystems that can support a thriving and more resilient ocean-based economy while balancing the diverse priorities of ocean users. Bermuda’s Blue Prosperity Plan is a framework that supports the sustainable management of ocean resources, coordinates decision-making about marine-based development, ensures that 20% of Bermuda’s marine waters are fully protected marine protected areas (MPAs), and provides a strategy for the sustainable growth of the Blue Economy.
  • What is the Marine Spatial Plan?
    The Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) is a framework to support sustainable management of Bermuda’s ocean resources, coordinate decision-making about marine-based development, and designate 20 percent of Bermuda’s marine waters as fully protected MPAs. These MPAs span across a broad range of habitats to protect and restore ocean ecosystems and fish populations. The plan is based on science and community input through various phases of public engagement and consultation since 2020.
  • What is the Blue Economy Strategy?
    The Blue Economy Strategy focuses on growing Bermuda’s ocean-related industries and attracting investment opportunities. It aims to facilitate sustainable fisheries, expand sustainable marine tourism, accelerate the clean energy transition, and increase investment in blue technologies in Bermuda. It introduces the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Fund (Ocean Fund) which will support the long-term sustainable growth of Blue Economy industries and the implementation of the MSP through an investment programme and an incubator programme.
  • What are the benefits to Bermuda?
    The Blue Prosperity Plan proposes sustainable management measures for Bermuda’s marine environment, allowing it to be enjoyed by boaters, divers, fishermen and more for years to come. The Blue Prosperity Plan is a strategy to benefit everyone in Bermuda by: Growing Bermuda’s ocean economy & creating jobs Increasing investment & support to local businesses & programmes Producing cleaner, cheaper energy Expanding sustainable marine tourism Managing and conserving our marine resources, including cultural heritage Supporting sustainable local fisheries Enhancing ocean health and protecting Bermuda’s unique marine life Through the consultative Marine Spatial Planning process, areas of the ocean have been designated into different use zones including fishing areas, highly protected areas, fully protected areas, etc. The Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) includes maps that define specific locations where human activities are permitted, restricted (i.e., allowed under certain conditions), or fully prohibited. It also contains action plans that support MSP implementation and management, and address future management needs that have been identified throughout the consultation process. The Blue Economy Strategy creates many opportunities to sustainably grow jobs and Bermuda's economy in sectors including fishing, tourism, renewable energy, and aquaculture. It also includes the creation of a fund that will gather investment and allocate resources and mentorship to local businesses.
  • What is the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme?
    The Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme (BOPP) is a community-driven programme to foster the sustainable, profitable, and enjoyable use of ocean resources. This government-led programme was launched in 2019, through a partnership of the government with Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS) and the Waitt Institute. The programme has created a comprehensive Blue Prosperity Plan to sustainably use, manage, and protect our ocean space while enriching the economy and ensuring healthy fisheries and marine ecosystems remain for future generations. This includes the development of a Marine Spatial Plan that designates important areas for ocean use, including full protection for 20% of Bermuda’s waters, a Blue Economy Strategy for the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth and improved livelihoods, and programs to support sustainable fisheries management.
  • How was the public involved in creating the Blue Prosperity Plan?
    Bermuda’s Blue Prosperity Plan represents the culmination of a four-year planning and public review process led by the people of Bermuda. The plan’s development has been led by the Government of Bermuda, specifically the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). It has been guided by the Steering Committee which is comprised of 19 Bermudian organisations, the Science Committee which is made up of Bermudian and Bermuda-based scientists, stakeholder groups representing various ocean sectors, and public engagement including through town halls, community events, surveys, and public materials.
  • How was science used to create the Blue Prosperity Plan?
    The Blue Prosperity Plan is a result of four years of data collection, consultation with industry and marine science experts, numerous rounds of stakeholder consultation, and exhaustive ecological and economic analyses. To support the selection of proposed marine protected areas (MPAs), local scientists provided data to help map our marine environment, showing the location of critical habitats and the most important areas for fish and corals. The design of Bermuda’s MPA network was also guided by global science, by examining what makes MPAs successful in other places and applying those lessons here. Furthermore, a comprehensive Ocean Use Survey (OUS) was used to understand how Bermuda residents use and value the ocean. The survey was open from September 2020 to February 2021, with more than 1400 responses. It was reopened exclusively to commercial fishermen from November 2022 to March 2023. The new data collected from commercial fishermen represents input from 60% of Bermuda’s full-time fishermen and 29% of Bermuda’s part-time fishermen. The responses to the Ocean Use Survey were used to create heatmaps to visually represent which areas within Bermuda's waters are considered most valuable by each sector. These heatmaps, along with environmental data supplied by local scientists, were incorporated into a computer “Prioritization” model. The model identified priority areas for conservation, and these were evaluated by stakeholders to develop and refine a marine protected area network that better meets the MSP’s principles, goals, and objectives.
  • What is the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Fund (Ocean Fund)?
    By supporting the sustainable use of the ocean’s natural resources, the Ocean Fund seeks to achieve the Blue Economy Strategy’s broader goals of sustainable fisheries, marine tourism, clean energy and blue investments while delivering long-term and inclusive economic growth. The fund will offer opportunities to Bermuda residents by supporting projects through two mechanisms: an incubator programme for new businesses and an accelerator programme for established businesses in the Blue Economy. The Ocean Fund will include local leadership and multiple funding sources. The fund aims to drive finance into local Bermudian businesses to support sustainable fisheries, sustainable tourism, blue technology, and renewable energy.
  • What is a marine protected area?
    A marine protected area is “a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values,” according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). MPAs can vary in size, level of protection, purpose, and management approach; however, they are widely seen as one mechanism to protect sensitive habitats and the biodiversity of marine life helping to restore depleted fish stocks and threatened or endangered species. They are also useful management tools in situations where there is a need to sustain the health of marine environments while allowing for a variety of human uses, such as fishing, industry, boating and other forms of recreation. Fully protecting a portion of each of Bermuda’s marine habitats will help them remain healthy so that they can continue providing our island with the ecosystem services upon which we depend.
  • What are the benefits of marine protected areas?
    Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have a wide variety of benefits including: Protecting and restoring our marine environment Replenishing commercially important fish stocks Protecting fish nursery habitats and spawning grounds Maintaining the full variety of marine life Protecting unique underwater geologic features, such as seamounts Ensuring long-term sustainable use of natural resources Safeguarding underwater cultural heritage, such as shipwrecks Increasing revenue for tourism and ocean-related businesses Increasing job opportunities in ocean industries Additionally, MPAs enhance adjacent fisheries via the ‘spillover effect.’ When an area is fully protected, all activities that could potentially harm the ecosystem are removed in order to keep the habitats and the marine life that lives there as healthy as possible. Studies have shown that over time, populations of species protected within MPAs become so abundant they ‘spill over’ into nearby areas where fishing is permitted.
  • What other countries have marine protection commitments?
    More than 175 countries have called for at least 30% ocean protection by 2030. Albania, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Comoros, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Liberia, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vanuatu. Examples of other countries working towards 20-30% full protection: Barbuda (33%) Federated States of Micronesia (30%) Fiji (30%) Panama (20%) Samoa (30%) Tonga (30%) United States (20%) Vanuatu (30%)
  • Are there other countries engaged in marine spatial planning?
    According to UN Data, as of 2022, approximately 100 countries and territories are engaged in MSP. This includes development and implementation, or otherwise formally in process. Many are in the development phase. Updated Joint Roadmap to accelerate Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning processes worldwide MSP roadmap (2022-2027)
  • What can I do in a marine protected area?
    The Marine Spatial Plan identifies a legally binding Marine Protected Area (MPA) network. MPAs are not intended to be a one-size-fits-all management tool. To accommodate multiple ocean users and their diverse needs, the MPAs have varying levels of protection, including: Fully protected: allows for all non-extractive or non-destructive uses (e.g., diving, boating) and prohibits all activities that would damage habitats or cultural heritage (e.g., mining, development) or remove marine life (e.g., fishing). Pelagic zones: surface trolling and spearfishing for pelagic species allowed, prohibits bottom fishing and all other extractive or destructive activities. Fisheries Areas: prohibits development and other destructive activities to safeguard important fishing areas and valuable habitats. Catch & Release Only: allows catch & release fly fishing, prohibits all other extractive or destructive activities. Special Protection Area: allows all non-extractive or non-destructive uses (e.g., diving, boating), allows for maintenance of existing infrastructure and prohibits all other extractive or destructive activities. 2 m Mangrove Buffer: allows all non-extractive or non-destructive uses (e.g., diving, boating), allows for maintenance of existing infrastructure and prohibits all other extractive or destructive activities. Shoreline Buffer: allows permitted shoreline activities (e.g., approved development, infrastructure maintenance and hook-and-line fishing). Cable Zone: allows cable maintenance work, prohibits all other extractive or destructive activities. Seasonal No-Net Fishing: prohibits net fishing (except dip netting) from May to October, inclusive. No Net Fishing: prohibits net fishing. Seasonal Closure Areas: seasonal fishing allowed as usual, prohibits development and shipping. North Shore Habitat Protection Area: prohibits large scale development and lobster trapping (other types of fishing will continue as usual). MPAs will affect Bermuda residents by changing the activities permitted in certain areas of Bermuda’s waters. Some permitted and prohibited activities for fully protected marine protected areas in Bermuda are below: Visit to learn more and view the MPA maps.
  • How were fishermen involved in creating this plan?
    Every stakeholder group has had an opportunity to be involved in the Blue Prosperity Plan development process. The commercial fishing industry is an important voice, but not the only voice when it comes to Bermuda’s ocean. Their input has influenced the Blue Prosperity Plan, a holistic management strategy designed to protect our marine resources with as little disruption to livelihoods as possible. In this plan, 80% of Bermuda’s waters would remain open to fishing. The BOPP team sought to engage commercial and recreational fishers at every step of the process. From including fishers on the Steering Committee, gathering detailed input via Ocean Use Surveys, hosting Ocean Village meetings, having 1:1 sessions for fishers with specific concerns, utilising citizen portals for feedback, posting ads in the Royal Gazette with FAQs, to hosting Pop-Ups, there has been ample opportunity for the fishing community in Bermuda to engage with the BOPP process. Throughout the Plan’s development, recreational and commercial fishermen had opportunities to communicate their needs by participating in Ocean Village Groups, focus groups, and individual meetings, as well as highlighting the location of their “most highly valued” fishing grounds through the Ocean Use Survey. As more specific data was provided, the Blue Prosperity Plan was refined to minimise the impact on fishers when prioritising areas for protection.
  • Will the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan benefit fishers?
    While some fishing efforts would need to shift, this will help ensure that the fishery is sustainable long into the future, fishing livelihoods will remain intact, and seafood will still be on our tables. The Marine Spatial Plan designates “fisheries areas,” to prohibit development and other destructive activities to protect valuable habitat and fishing grounds. Protecting 20% of Bermuda’s waters, including important spawning grounds and nursery habitats like mangroves, seagrasses and patch reefs, provides safe havens for fish to reproduce and grow. These populations would then spill over into other areas and replenish fish stocks. The Marine Spatial Plan acts as an insurance policy to ensure that fishing will be possible for generations to come. While some areas are off limits, 80% of Bermuda’s waters, and 89.7% of the Bermuda platform, would still be open to fishing. The Draft Blue Economy Strategy includes 6 goals for facilitating sustainable fisheries and aims to provide support to local sustainable fisheries projects.
  • Will fishing from the rocks be allowed?
    Yes, fishing from the rocks will still be allowed across the majority of Bermuda’s coastline. The Final Draft Blue Prosperity Plan proposes restrictions to a few areas along the coastline that include valuable nursery habitats (such as mangroves and seagrass) and the fish communities associated with them. View the maps to see what areas are proposed for protection:
  • How will the Blue Prosperity Plan support Bermuda’s maritime enforcement?
    The Blue Prosperity Plan will coordinate and focus resources for enforcement to help protect against pollution, illegal, unreported & unregulated (IUU) fishing, and other environmental damage. During public consultation on the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan, enforcement was a major topic. The plan aims to improve enforcement measures through: Education and outreach: Public awareness campaigns, targeted education materials, and location-specific outreach are planned for Bermuda residents and visitors on topics, such as commercial and recreational fishing laws, area closures, and MPA boundaries will help promote and support compliance. Strategic partnerships: Support from partners including the UK Blue Belt Ocean Shield Programme will increase funding, training and resources for enforcement within Bermuda’s waters. This is a separate but complementary programme to enhance marine enforcement in Bermuda. Agency collaboration: This will enhance coordination between various agencies within the Bermuda Government, including the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Fisheries Enforcement Section, the Royal Bermuda Regiment Coast Guard and the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre/Bermuda Radio. Development of adaptive strategies: The Marine Resources Enforcement Strategy being developed by DENR includes recommendations for strengthened legislation and is informed by the best available data and public feedback. Adaptive management strategies will support the evolution of enforcement and compliance activities to ensure challenges are met with proportional actions. Support and Implementation of emerging technologies: DENR, with the support of partners, is receiving assistance to test and deploy emerging technologies to enhance marine domain awareness. Emerging technologies include support for remote satellite surveillance and analytics, as well as tools to support the traceability of seafood products.


The Blue Prosperity Plan
a plan by and for Bermuda

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