Home Affairs Minister Walter Roban updates HOA on BOPP

Initiated in June 2019 the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme, otherwise known as BOPP, is an exciting program aimed at creating an integrated marine spatial plan for the entirety of Bermuda’s 200 nautical mile Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ).

This plan will be a tool to best manage Bermuda’s greatest resource coherently and to ensure that human activities take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way. This plan will benefit all Bermudians, those of us here now and those that are to come.

Over the last four years, the Government, in partnership with the Waitt Institute and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS), has undertaken extensive consultation with all of marine related stakeholders and the general public, with the aim of developing a plan that recognizes the uniqueness and importance of Bermuda’s marine environment, focused on providing positive outcomes for both humans and nature.

The Government has recognized the international commitment to fully protect thirty percent (30%) of the World’s oceans by 2030. With this in mind Bermuda has set a reasonable expectation of protecting twenty percent (20%) of our four hundred and sixty four thousand (464,000) kilometer square EEZ. The plan is also grounded in principles of being ecosystem based, integrated, place based, adaptive, strategic and participatory.  

Over the last several years there have been numerous reiterations of draft plans that have been continually modified and refined using the feedback from all of the many marine related stakeholder groups, as well as the public. These groups included those focused on conservation, economic development, education, fishing, tourism, and utilities to name a few.

I am pleased to say I now have a draft plan for consideration. This plan will soon be released to the public for comment.

I can announce that I am now in receipt of a draft outline marine management plan from the Fishermen’s Association of Bermuda (FAB). I would note that a submission from the FAB was promised for last September.The Government acknowledges the work by the FAB in creating their draft, as well as their willingness to share the document for reviewand we will consider how it can contribute to the common goals of managing Bermuda’s waters.

I will note that the consultation process continues and the public and stakeholders will be invited in due course to provide feedback to the BOPP draft plan. In order to ensure that all comments are carefully considered, I will be inviting a panel of advisors to review all of the comments received. This panel will includepersons with expertise in marine related areaswho have been independent of the marine spatial plan drafting process. The panel will then provide to me recommendations on how to address any issues that have been raised. The submission of the FAB will be reviewed by the panel for consideration.

Mr. Speaker, All of the draft plans, background documents and consultations reports can be found on the website – www dot Bermuda ocean prosperity dot org(www.bermudaoceanprosperity.org). I encourage everyone to visit the site and see the good work that has been done and that is currently underway.

I look forward to updating this Honourable House in due course when we receive the results from the independent review and as we move forward to tackle the important challenges that climate change brings us.

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