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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.


Marine Spatial Planning is a public process that uses the best available information about the natural environment and human uses to make informed decisions about how to manage the ocean. Human activities are given spatial and temporal designations to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives.


A Marine Spatial Plan aims to find the right balance of industry and development, while protecting the environment and marine resources for future generations.

Bermuda’s draft Marine Spatial Plan aims to build upon Bermuda’s robust history of marine conservation in order to improve the use of the ocean for present and future generations. It includes maps and an associated management plan. This Marine Spatial Plan, along with the Blue Economy Strategy, together form a Blue Prosperity Plan that will enable Bermuda to move toward its ecological, social, and economic objectives.

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Bermuda’s vision for its marine areas is to ‘encourage a sustainable and economically viable fishing industry, promote healthy marine ecosystems, and ensure that the interests of all those who have a stake in the marine environment are represented.’


Bermuda’s draft Marine Spatial Plan supports this vision by outlining a plan to sustainably manage resources and protect 20% of Bermuda’s waters as fully protected MPAs. This will result in enhanced ecosystem health, which will support a thriving and more resilient ocean-based economy while reducing user conflicts.


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.



Long-term sustainable management and conservation of marine resources for a healthy and productive ocean


Economic growth leading to improved livelihoods and job opportunities for future generations

Minimising conflicts of interest through extensive stakeholder input and use of the best available data


A transparent and adaptive process providing a greater certainty for ocean users



  • 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 Marine Spatial Plan 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 identifies different ocean uses, maximises the benefit of ocean uses, and minimises 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 Marine Spatial Plan.


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

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

  • 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 Marine Spatial Plan and after the Marine Spatial Plan is adopted in order to a) support Marine Spatial Plan implementation and management, or b) to address future management needs identified in the Marine Spatial Planning 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 Marine Spatial Plan 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. Read the Draft Marine Spatial Plan released in September 2022 here.

  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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