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YOUR OCEAN.
YOUR FUTURE.
YOU DECIDE.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BLUE PROSPERITY PLAN

BACKGROUND

The 60-day consultation period for the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan (BPP) starting September 12 was extended through December 31, 2022. During the month of September, three public consultation sessions were held with more than 150 persons in attendance. Each session included a presentation on the Draft Blue Economy Strategy and the Draft Marine Spatial Plan. All the feedback provided will be given to the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme Steering Committee, a group of 19 organisations from Bermuda. It will consider this input and evaluate how it may be used to refine the plan in order to achieve the stated social and ecological objectives.

Prior Public Consultations

Session 1: Thursday, 15th September, 2022

Time: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Location: St. Paul’s AME Centennial Church Hall, Hamilton

 

Session 2: Wednesday, 21st September, 2022 

Time: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Location: Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, Hanson Hall, St. George’s

 

Session 3: Wednesday, 28th September, 2022

Time: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Location: St James’ Church Hall, Somerset

 

If you were not able to participate in a public consultation session, you can learn more about the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan and provide feedback online on the Bermuda Citizens Forum.

 

You are also invited to join an Ocean Village stakeholder consultation group. This allows more detailed feedback to be given and more in depth information about the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan will be provided. Each Ocean Village group will submit a consensus comment on the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan to provide unified suggestions on from each sector.

 

Ocean Village groups include:

  • Commercial Fishers

  • Passive Recreation, Conservation, & Swimming

  • Tourism, Boating, Sports, Diving, & Snorkeling

  • Recreational Fishers

  • Aquaculture (Mariculture)

  • Wastewater/Pollution Management, Utilities, Infrastructure & Development

 

For more information or to join an Ocean Village stakeholder consultation group, please contact Noelle Young, BOPP Administrative Assistant, at nyoung@waittinstitute.org.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The below provides answers to the most frequently asked questions during the public consultation sessions. If you asked a question that you feel was not addressed in the public sessions, or answered below, please send an email to info@BermudaOceanProsperity.org.

 

1. How will public feedback on the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan be considered?

Your feedback on the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan is critical. Comments are being collected in a series of public consultation sessions, targeted stakeholder engagement meetings (collectively called the Ocean Village), and on Bermuda Citizens Forum. You can learn more about these ways to engage by visiting the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme website: https://www.bermudaoceanprosperity.org.

All the feedback provided will be given to the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme Steering Committee. It will consider this input and evaluate how it may be used to refine the plan in order to achieve the stated social and ecological objectives. The Draft Blue Prosperity Plan will be updated based on the Steering Committee’s recommendations and then given to the Minister of Home Affairs, who will decide if another round of public consultation is necessary, or if it is ready to go to Cabinet for approval.

 

2. How does marine protection benefit fishers?

The Blue Prosperity Plan aims to create pathways for the sustainable growth of ocean industries, including fishing, while preventing damage to ocean ecosystems. The commitment by the Government of Bermuda to fully protect 20% of Bermuda’s waters, as realised in the Draft Marine Spatial Plan, helps ensure that

refuge areas, nursery habitats, and spawning grounds of commercially important fish species are safeguarded. This provides an important insurance policy for the fishers of this generation, and generations to come, that fish populations will have areas for reproduction, and protection against the impacts of ecosystem degradation from development and climate change.

3. Were the impacts to fishers considered in the proposed placement of marine protected areas?

The first goal of the Draft Marine Spatial Plan is to “facilitate sustainable commercial and recreational fisheries” with an objective to “ensure continued access to the most highly valued fishing grounds on and around the Bermuda platform and outlying banks.”

When selecting proposed areas for marine protection, it was BOPP’s priority to minimise the impact on existing fisheries and protect access to highly valued fishing grounds. For this reason, an Ocean Use Survey was conducted that asked fishers to map important fishing areas, and a comprehensive user impact

assessment was conducted for the nearshore. In the Draft Plan, areas of full protection represent 20% of Bermuda’s total ocean space, leaving 80% of Bermuda’s waters open to fishing. The following provides a breakdown of the 20% of full protection by geographic space - 3.8% of the nearshore (0-2000 m deep),

10.1% of the Bermuda Platform (0-55 m deep), and 20% of the offshore (2000m depth contour to the EEZ boundary).

 

However, this process is not yet complete and we welcome further feedback fromfishers on the impacts of the proposed areas in order to refine the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan.

 

4. Will the Draft Marine Spatial Plan prohibit fishing from the rocks?

Fishing from the rocks will still be allowed in a majority of areas.

 
 

5. The proposed protected areas could limit access to important areas for bait fishing. How can this be minimized as the Plan is refined?

To minimise impacts to bait fishers, we are in the process of gathering additional feedback about priority fishing areas. Please send an email to info@BermudaOceanProsperity.org if you are interested in providing this important feedback.

 

6. How does the Blue Economy Strategy support sustainable fisheries?

Goal 1 of Bermuda’s Blue Economy Strategy is to facilitate and enhance sustainable commercial and recreational fisheries. This is achieved through six core objectives outlined in the strategy and below.

Objectives

  • Develop and implement a licensing structure that will allow for better monitoring of catch, improved management, and enduring sustainability for both commercial and recreational fisheries.

  • Enhance monitoring and enforcement using innovative technologies and partnerships, such as with the Blue Shield Programme.

  • Increase sustainable harvest of pelagic species with emerging technology and new best practices.

  • Support development and operation of the Fisheries Development Centre; modalities to be decided.

  • Lower cost and improve sustainability of fishing practice by piloting sustainable energy solutions on nearshore fishing vessels.

  • Diversify and increase high-paying employment opportunities in the commercial fishing sector.

 

As part of this, the Blue Prosperity Plan aims to provide support to local sustainable fisheries projects that meet these objectives.

7. How does the Blue Economy Strategy support the tourism industry?

Goal 4 of the Blue Economy Strategy is to expand sustainable marine tourism. This is achieved through four core objectives outlined in the strategy and below.

Objectives

  • Support and increase the number of sustainable tourism operators, infrastructure, and events.

  • Increase awareness locally and internationally of Bermuda’s leadership in ecofriendly tourism offerings.

  • Integrate sustainable and equitable blue tourism policies and actions into the implementation of the Bermuda National Tourism Plan.

  • Enhance advancement opportunities for workers in the tourism sector, including training.

 

As part of this, the Blue Investment Facility aims to provide support to local Sustainable Tourism projects that meet these objectives. However, we are specifically looking for feedback on the proposed goals in the Draft Blue Economy Strategy, including comments on the associated objectives. Please comment using the survey on the Bermuda Citizens Forum.

 

8. What training and job opportunities are anticipated with the Blue Economy Strategy?

When developing the Draft Blue Economy Strategy, consultations with Bermuda’s stakeholders identified 18 potential projects for investment. The stage of the projects ranges from an early idea that requires further research and development, to a fully mature, operational business plan. Additional due diligence is underway, and we are continuing to collect other project ideas. Consequently, it is still too early to identify specific opportunities. The Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme will prioritise projects that provide social and economic benefits for current and future generations. This includes job creation and training opportunities. And as the Draft Blue Economy Strategy evolves from a draft plan to an operational fund, projects will undergo another review process. This will include decisions on what technical assistance to provide and what investment opportunities are available to take the projects to scale with impact.

 
 

9. Will enforcement resources increase with the adoption of the Blue Prosperity Plan?

Bermuda will leverage its membership in the Blue Shield maritime domain awareness programme established for UK Overseas Territories to assist in the enforcement of the Blue Prosperity Plan. The Blue Shield programme provides comprehensive tools for the defence of Bermuda’s marine waters against illegal activities. A suite of support will be offered, including innovative technology and surveillance techniques. In addition, Blue Shield will assist with monitoring activity to ensure regulations are met and assist with undertaking enforcement action against non-compliance. Blue Shield Territories will be supported through specialist training for on-island staff, who will also be given access to surveillance

and enforcement techniques and tools.

 

10. The Blue Economy Strategy lists “Facilitate Sustainable Fisheries” as one of its goals and increased capacity for offshore pelagic fishing as a potential project. How do you reconcile these two objectives?

Pelagic species such as tunas, wahoo, and swordfish migrate throughout the Atlantic Ocean and are managed, in part, by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). ICCAT conducts population assessments for these species, calculating the amount of fishing that each population can sustain and allocating catch quotas to the different countries that fish for them.

Bermuda shares quotas for the various species with the UK and other Overseas Territories. At present, Bermuda’s allocations are not fully utilised. Therefore, there is an opportunity to increase the catch of certain pelagic species in a sustainable manner.

 

11. What are the criteria that must be met for a project to qualify for funding under the Draft Blue Economy Strategy?

The Draft Blue Economy Strategy includes a funding mechanism called the Blue Investment Facility. It is a means to drive finance into local Bermudian businesses and sustainably grow ocean industries. The design of the Blue Investment Facility includes an Incubation Programme to support start-up projects, and an Investment Programme to connect mature projects with funders. The Blue Investment Facility will have an associated fee for investors that will help to fund marine management and protection, recognising that ocean-related industries need a healthy marine environment to thrive.

 

The Blue Investment Facility will have local leadership and multiple funding sources. The design of the facility is in the early days, and many details are still being developed. However, initial outreach identified 18 potential projects, and investors are already starting to take notice. Once a governance structure is approved, criteria for investment will be developed. However, if you have or know of a project that:

  • Benefits Bermuda’s ocean, communities, and sustainable livelihoods

  • Has the potential for local revenue generation and returns on investment; and;

  • Aligns to priority sectors (fisheries, renewable energy, and sustainable tourism)

 

Please let us know in this survey on the Bermuda Citizens Forum.

 

12. What is the role of the Waitt Institute in the development of the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan?

Guided by the Government of Bermuda and the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme team of Bermudians and Bermuda residents, the Waitt Institute supports the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme (BOPP) through technical assistance, funding, and tools.

The Waitt Institute has helped to facilitate the process of gathering information to develop the Blue Prosperity Plan, but the outcomes are decided by the Bermuda Government, who are incorporating feedback from the stakeholders and public. The Waitt Institute has no financial interest in the outcomes.

The Waitt Institute is a US-based non-profit organisation that supports the creation of sustainable ocean plans in partnership with governments, local stakeholders, and communities around the world, supporting countries to meet their Sustainable Development Goals. They have country partnerships with the Azores, Barbuda, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Maldives, Samoa, and Tonga.

 

13. Was the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan developed by Bermudians?

The Draft Blue Prosperity Plan was developed by and for Bermuda citizens and residents. The Waitt Institute, a non-profit based in the United States and represented by a local Site Team comprised of Bermuda citizens and residents, helped to facilitate the process with funding and technical support.

Plan development is guided by a Steering Committee that includes:

  • Bermuda Business Development Agency

  • Bermuda Economic Development Corporation

  • Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

  • Bermuda National Trust (observer)

  • Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority

  • Bermuda Tourism Authority

  • Commercial Fisheries Council

  • Department of Economic Development

  • Department of Energy

  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources

  • Department of Health

  • Department of Marine and Ports

  • Department of Planning

  • Department of Workforce Development

  • Environmental Authority

  • Estates Section, Ministry of Public Works

  • Historic Wrecks Authority

  • Marine Resources Board

  • Regulatory Authority

 

A Science Committee provides input on data and ecological conditions in Bermuda and includes 15 Bermudians and Bermuda-based scientists.

An Ocean Village stakeholder group was formed comprising Bermuda’s citizens and residents with expertise in various ocean interests and sectors. The Ocean Village played a critical role in refining the principles, goals, and objectives that guide the marine spatial plan, and this group will continue to provide feedback on the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan throughout the entirety of the consultation period. In 2020, an Ocean Use Survey was conducted that collected the feedback of 1400 citizens and residents of Bermuda specifying where and how they use the island’s marine waters. This important data layer helps minimise user conflict with proposed protected areas.

 

There were moments in the process where international scientists or industry experts were consulted, but this was to enhance the input provided by those in Bermuda, not replace it.

 

14. What other countries have similar marine protection commitments?

To combat the biodiversity and climate crises, countries are rallying in support of scientific research that finds a minimum of 30% of the world’s ocean and land need protection by 2030. In 2021, during an event at the 76th session of the United National General Assembly, it was announced that more than 100 countries have publicly committed to support the goal of 30% protection of the global ocean.

Some of these countries include: Albania, Angola, Armenia, Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, 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, 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.

 

In addition, many countries are working toward specific full protection commitments in their marine waters, including:

  • Azores (15%)

  • Barbuda (33%)

  • British Virgin Islands (30%)

  • Federated States of Micronesia (30%)

  • Fiji (30%)

  • Palau (80%)

  • Samoa (30%)

  • Tonga (30%)

  • Maldives (20%)

  • United States (30%)