Minister Roban on Advancing Bermuda’s Blue Prosperity Plan

I am here today to provide an update on Bermuda’s draft Blue Prosperity Plan, which is being designed to sustainably manage and protect the ocean resources within Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ.

Our EEZ stretches from our coastline out to two hundred (200) nautical miles. This area holds tremendous untapped potential for sustainable ocean industries, which can contribute to our island’s economic growth, infrastructure development, and job creation.

While ensuring economic resilience, the Bermuda Government is also committed to achieving the highest standard of marine protection, which is essential to building ocean resilience.

I want to emphasise that the Government has recognised the global commitment, which includes the UK, to fully protect thirty per cent (30%) of the world’s oceans by 2030. Over one hundred and seventy-five (175) countries have called for thirty per cent protection by 2030. According to UN data, as of 2022, approximately one hundred (100) countries and territories are engaged in developing marine spatial plans.  With this in mind, Bermuda has set a reasonable expectation of protecting twenty per cent (20%) of our four hundred and sixty-four thousand (464,000) square kilometreEEZ.

To that end, the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme or BOPP was established for the purpose of assisting Bermuda in creating a framework that supports the responsible development of Bermuda’s Blue Economy.BOPP was also tasked with ensuring that twenty per cent (20%) of Bermuda’s waters are set aside in fully protected marine areas.

Since releasing the first draft of the Blue Prosperity Plan in August 2022, hundreds of comments have been received through stakeholder engagement meetings and focus groups, town hall meetings, pop-up events, emails, and surveys.

Furthermore, a comprehensive Ocean Use Survey was used to understand how Bermuda residents use and value the ocean. The survey was open from September 2020 to February 2021 and received over 1400 responses. It was reopened exclusively to commercial fishermen from November 2022 to March 2023. The new data collected from commercial fishermen represents input from 60% of Bermuda’s full-time fishermen and 29% of Bermuda’s part-time fishermen.

That said, I want to acknowledge everyone who has participated in this Plan. Your efforts have been critical in forming the draft plan, and I want to thank you all for your time, energy, and commitment to this process.

I am now excited to announce that I have received a new updated version of the draft Blue Prosperity Plan, which incorporates extensive stakeholder, public and scientific feedback collected since the original draft was released in 2022.

The Draft Blue Prosperity Plan outlines a pathway to growing Bermuda’s ocean economy while protecting and restoring the island’s ocean for present and future generations.

Like the first Draft Blue Prosperity Plan, the new version has two parts that work together: the Blue Economy Strategy, a blueprint for growing Bermuda’s ocean-related industries and attracting investment opportunities, and the Marine Spatial Plan, a framework for implementing sustainable ocean development, protection, and management.

With even more information accumulated since 2022, this final draft of the Blue Prosperity Plan uses the best available science alongside extensive input from the Government of Bermuda, the local scientific community, stakeholder groups, and the Bermudian public.

The Plan includes many objectives to support and promote ocean industries, conservation, and more, and provides information on new funding that will be available through the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Fund. This fund will support the long-term sustainable growth of Blue Economy industries and provide opportunities for Bermudians.

With that in mind, I’m proud to share with you a video that encapsulates the goal of Bermuda’s Blue Prosperity Plan.

Having watched that video, I hope its message resonates across our island and beyond its borders.

I encourage everyone to visit to read the new draft of the Blue Prosperity Plan. One will also find frequently asked questions to help address those asked on social media. The forum will also detail how you can send in your submissions regarding the Plan. The deadline for making submissions is April 30, 2024.

As part of the submission process, I will nominate a Review Panel, independent of BOPP, to evaluate all public submissions to the Blue Prosperity’s Plan proposed Marine Protected Area Network and Potential Use Areas. Details of the panel and its remit can also be found on the government forum.

The Review Panel will first evaluate all of the submissions received and then provide me witha report that will include recommendations.

Once considered, I will select the ones which will be used to amend the Blue Prosperity Plan, if required. This amended Plan and the submitted Panel report will be introduced to the Cabinet for consideration and approval later this year.

This Plan, created by Bermudians for Bermuda, results from many groups contributing countless hours of work. It also reflects the voices of hundreds of stakeholders participating in the consultative process since 2019. Successful ocean management must incorporate diverse stakeholder inputs while prioritising our ocean’s health, which we all rely on.

I am delighted to support this Blue Prosperity Plan, which will benefit all Bermudians, those of us here now and those who are yet to come.

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