Bermuda’s Draft 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
The Blue Prosperity Plan has two parts that work together:
Blue Economy Strategy
A guideline for growing Bermuda's ocean-related industries and attracting investment opportunities.
Marine Spatial Plan
A framework for implementing sustainable ocean development, protection, & management.
How can Marine Protected Areas benefit Bermuda?
Marine Protected Areas allow for ocean ecosystems and fish populations to replenish and grow. Protected areas will support fishermen's livelihoods, tourism, food security, and climate resilience and ensure the ocean is healthy for future generations.
Globally, fish populations are 4-6x higher in protected areas. Fish and invertebrates, such as lobster, can move beyond the borders of the protected area, known as “spillover.” For offshore waters, a recent study in Hawaii found that catch for Yellowfin Tuna increased 54% in waters nearby a fully protected Marine Protected Area.
How will the Blue Prosperity Plan address fishermen’s concerns?
In line with the fishermen’s requests the Blue Prosperity Plan will work to:
Increase enforcement and monitoring
Create a licensing structure for all fishers
Require an impact assessment for any marine development
Increase research, tools, training, and resources for fisheries
Representatives from the Commercial Fisheries Council (CFC) and Marine Resources Board (MRB) have been included in the BOPP Steering Committee throughout Plan development. Their input has influenced the current draft, which was designed to protect our marine resources with as little disruption to livelihoods as possible.
While some fishing efforts would shift to ensure the industry is sustainable long into the future, their livelihoods will remain intact, and seafood will still be on our tables.
How can the Blue Economy provide opportunities for Bermuda?
The Blue Economy Strategy creates many opportunities to sustainably grow jobs and Bermuda's economy in the following sectors:
The Plan includes the creation of a fund that will gather investment and allocate resources and mentorship to local businesses. Additionally, this fund will provide financial support for enforcement and protection of Bermuda’s existing marine regulations.
Renewable ocean energy
Proposed areas in the Draft Marine Spatial Plan on the Bermuda Platform (Shoreline to 2000 metres)
Protected areas safeguard marine habitats and allow fish populations to grow and replenish. These areas also will support fishers’ livelihoods, tourism, food security, climate resilience, and ensure our ocean is healthy for future generations. 80% of Bermuda’s waters would still be open to fishing.
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Fully Protected: Safeguards important areas by prohibiting activities that would damage habitats or cultural heritage (e.g. mining, development) or remove marine life (e.g. fishing). Would allow non-extractive ocean uses (e.g. diving, boating).
Pelagic Zones: Allows surface fishing for tunas and wahoo. Protects marine life on the
seabed by prohibiting bottom fishing and activities that would damage the fragile habitats here (e.g. development, mining)
Seasonal Closure Areas: Would prohibit shipping and development to protect important spawning grounds for grouper and red hind, but would allow fishing outside of the existing seasonal closure.
Lobster Reservoir: Protects valuable nursery habitat by prohibiting destructive activities and
certain developments, such as renewable energy. Lobster trapping is already prohibited. Other uses would not be affected.
Multi-Use Areas [White]: Multiple ocean activities are permitted, including fishing, within existing regulations. An Environmental Impact Assessment will now be required for all developments. The prohibition on foreign commercial fishing vessels and mining will remain.
............ 55 metre depth (30 fathoms)
_____ 2000 metre depth (100 fathoms)
What would be protected?
Why is protection proposed in these areas?
Areas were selected based on extensive scientific data about Bermuda’s marine life, as well as data on how people use our ocean – including over 1400 responses to the BOPP ocean use survey.
Coot Pond (A5)
Creates a protected pathway for fishes to travel between mangroves and patch reefs during their life cycle. Contains a spawning site for the blue-striped grunt, a commercially and recreationally valuable fish species.
Tyne’s Bay (A6)
Includes rare coral species and is a critical area for seagrass recovery efforts. The habitats here provide shelter for a variety of juvenile fishes, improving the chances they will grow and enhance the fishery populations.
Castle Harbour Islands & Reefs (A7)
Connects nursery habitat for juvenile reef fishes and small baitfish in Castle Harbour with South Shore coral reefs. Baitfish support commercial fisheries and are a food source for the Cahow and other native seabirds.
South Shore Reefs (A8)
Lush coral reefs provide a home for many types of fish. Along with multiple historic wrecks, this area supports the island’s tourism industry and local businesses.
Chub Heads (A9)
Recovering seagrass beds and good water quality support juvenile fishes and several rare and threatened species (e.g., queen conch and garden eel). Also has the highest density of historic wrecks on the Platform.
North Lagoon (A10)
Protects patch reefs and seagrass, which are essential nursery habitats for lobsters and many species of fish including the Lane Snapper, a valuable commercial and recreational fish species. Major developments would be prohibited to protect these habitats.
North Rock (A11)
Contains large healthy corals and seagrass beds, as well as an important dive site. Expanding the protected dive site would help improve the ability of this ecosystem to withstand disturbances.
Eastern (A12) and Western (A13) Grouper Boxes
Protects spawning grounds of the black grouper, an important fishery species, and the coral reefs they use for shelter.
Eastern Blue Cut (A14)
One of the most popular dive spots featuring many species of large fish. Already protected from fishing, this would extend protection to nearby reefs and prohibit extractive or destructive activities.