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In the busy ocean, how do we balance the needs of diverse ocean users while keeping the marine environment healthy and accessible? The answer is Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).


Marine spatial planning is a science-backed and stakeholder-driven process to manage ocean space to reduce user conflict, support a thriving blue economy, and prioritise human health and well-being. 


MSP gathers existing knowledge of the marine environment, incorporates the priorities of stakeholders, and—through an iterative feedback process—creates a map and accompanying management plan to identify where and how different ocean uses can occur. Similar to a terrestrial plan, a marine spatial plan outlines the rules for the sustainable use and development of Bermuda’s marine environment, thereby maximising Bermuda’s ability to manage, and benefit from, its most valuable asset.


Part of Bermuda’s MSP will include the identification of potential locations for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), as well as areas suitable for other human uses, such as renewable energy or habitat restoration.

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Click below to watch an in-depth walk through of Bermuda's Draft Marine Spatial Plan, which is part of the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan. Hear about proposed maps, reasons for protection, and the marine spatial planning process with Sarah Brooks, BOPP's Marine Spatial Planning Specialist.



More fish and healthier ocean ecosystems

Long-term planning for ocean economies like tourism and renewable energy

Improved livelihoods and jobs

Increased environmental and economic resilience to local and global stressors

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The Government of Bermuda has committed to develop and legally adopt a comprehensive and enforceable Marine Spatial Plan to sustainably manage resources and protect 20% of Bermuda’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

MSP is not a one-time effort. During the process, plan details are adapted and modified as circumstances change and new information becomes available. Following initial adoption of a plan, it can be revised and updated with new information and needs.



  • Data gathering

  • Creation of Management structure

  • Development of Principles, Goals, and Objectives


  • Ocean Village Meetings

  • Stakeholder  consultations

  • Ocean Use Survey distribution


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  • Draft MSP Map & Framework development

  • Steering Committee review

  • Public consultations


  • Public consultations

  • Revisions

  • Adoption


  • Map & Framework adoption into law

  • Implementation of use areas

The aim is to develop a map and framework that identify different ocean uses, maximizes the benefit of ocean uses, and minimize negative environmental and economic impacts. 


The Principles, Goals, and Objectives developed by the BOPP Steering Committee define the purpose and desired results of Bermuda’s MSP.


  • The principles set the tone of the MSP, and provide high-level guidance regarding its intrinsic nature.

  • The goals are high-level, aspirational statements that collectively identify the desired outcomes of the MSP.

  • For each goal, objectives provide specific, defined, and measurable outcomes.

    • Spatial objectives relate to, occupy, or otherwise have the character of physical space. They aim to outline the dimensions of specific locations where human activities can be permitted, restricted, or enhanced.

    • Non-spatial objectives are activities or processes to be achieved during the development of the MSP and after the MSP is adopted in order to a) support MSP implementation and management, or b) to address future management needs identified in the MSP process.

Development Process:

The Steering Committee reviewed stakeholder input on the draft Principles, Goals, and Objectives during a series of four, 2- hour meetings in the spring of 2021. The Committee discussions focused on considerations such as practicability, anticipated benefits, applicability, and the ability to strengthen current marine priorities, including a thriving and sustainable blue economy.

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  1. Over 100 data layers, including Ocean Use Surveys from approximately 1400 Bermuda residents, will be evaluated against the MSP objectives.

  2. BOPP Steering Committee will review and collate a series of scenarios from the evaluation to create a Draft Marine Spatial Plan.

  3. The draft will be presented to the Cabinet prior to extensive public consultation.

  4. After initial Cabinet vetting, the draft will be released to the public for comments, feedback, and insight.

  5. Feedback will be utilized and incorporated into the final version by the BOPP Steering Committee.

  6. The Final Draft Marine Spatial Plan will be presented again to the Cabinet for official adoption. 


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