INSERT MAP

PROPOSED PROTECTED AREAS

TEXT 

TEXT

WHY IS PROTECTION PROPOSED IN THESE AREAS?

Eastern (A12) and western (A13) grouper boxes

The black grouper is an important species to Bermuda’s commercial fishing industry. It spawns at specific sites at certain times of the year and this makes them vulnerable to overharvesting. There are examples of other grouper species that have reduced to such an extent that they are no longer commercially viable. Climate change adds another element of unpredictability as it can affect their spawning times and locations. This proposal would ensure spawning sites are protected year round to ensure healthy reproduction while also protecting valuable coral habitat that groupers use for shelter. This will help to replenish stocks of this important species to other areas.     

 

South Shore (A8)

This area encompasses some of the densest coral reef on the Bermuda Platform. It is home to a wide variety of fish species and the proposals provide a protective corridor from the shoreline habitats down to deeper benthic regions. This provides a protective corridor for fish to migrate as they grow and develop to adults. The area also has high marine heritage value and includes several protected wreck dive sites. It is considered by many as an area of great natural beauty that is valued by locals and visitors alike, which provides tremendous benefits to tourism-related businesses.

 

Chubb’s Head (A9)

Natural waterflow systems protect this area from pollutants. This higher water quality provides ideal conditions for juvenile fish to thrive and also contains several rare and threatened species (e.g. Queen Conch and Garden Eel). The area also has remnant seagrass beds which are recovering, making this an important nursery ground where fish can safely develop into adults and replenish other areas of the Platform. It also encompasses the densest area of historic wrecks on the island, protecting our valuable historical and cultural heritage from developmental threats.

 

Eastern Blue Cut (A14)

This area includes a “cut”, which is a break in the reef allowing water to circulate in a way that increases nutrient flow. This means the area is particularly rich in biodiversity, particularly of large fish species, making this one of the most popular dive spots in Bermuda. This site is currently protected from all fishing, but these proposals would increase that protection to prohibit all extractive activities and extend the area to link the cut with other valuable reef habitat.

 

North Lagoon (A10)

This is an important area for Lane Snapper, which is an important species for the commercial fishing industry. Further details needed. It also includes valuable patch reef and seagrass habitat, making it an essential nursery ground for this commercially important species and others.

 

Tyne’s Bay (A6)

This region encompasses valuable hard corals and some of the best remaining seagrass beds on the Bermuda Platform. These habitats provide shelter to juvenile fish, increasing their chances of reaching adulthood and going on to reproduce. The proposed protection makes up part of a wider area that is one of the most valuable in Bermuda’s waters for fish recruitment. This area is important for the development of juvenile fish and protection could increase their productivity as adults, leading to larger fish that produce higher quality eggs.

 

Coot Pond (A5)

This is the only area of proposed protection that link up shoreline mangrove habitat with nursery patch reef. Protective corridors between these two valuable nursery habitats can have beneficial effects on fish diversity, and by linking reefs can promote fish migration through their different life stages. It also contains a spawning site for the blue striped grunt, a commercially important species of fish. Protecting this area from overharvesting would ensure this species can successfully reproduce and go on to replenish other areas of the Platform.

 

North Rock (A11)

This area has excellent coral cover, which is home to a large number of fish species. In these proposals the currently protected dive site has been expanded to include more of these valuable corals and also rare seagrass beds. It connects to a pelagic zone (where benthic habitat would be protected), thereby encapsulating a range of depth zones and complex drop-off habitats. This helps to improve habitat resilience and sustain biodiversity.

 

Castle Harbour Islands and Reefs (A7)

The corals in this area support high fish diversity and abundance. It also encompasses valuable seagrass habitat, making this area important for small fish species that are the foundation of the food chain. This is not only important to support local fisheries, but also as a food source for native seabirds that nest on the islands in Castle Harbour (including the endangered Bermuda petrel).

 

Mangroves

All shoreline mangroves would be fully protected in these proposals. Mangroves are one of the most valuable nursery habitats for young fish in Bermuda and also provide protection against coastal erosion, yet they cover a very small portion of the shoreline. As such, these proposals put a heavy focus on mangrove protection to safeguard these vital areas from the threat of development and overfishing of juveniles.