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Film highlights marine efforts

Bermuda’s reefs at North Rock (Photograph by Shayna Brody)

A film made to highlight the proposed development of a marine protected area by 2021 has been released.

Walter Roban, the Home Affairs Minister and Deputy Premier, is featured in the short movie talking about the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme the Government has launched with the Washington DC-based public policy group the Waitt Foundation and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

Mr Roban said in the four-minute film: “Our history in protecting the ocean goes back to the beginning of settlement — we were protecting sea turtles back in the 1600s. We are very excited that the Bermuda Government is partnering with Waitt and BIOS around the development of a marine spatial plan and also the development of our blue economy.

“How can we ensure that our area of the ocean is used in a sustainable way to make us more prosperous? How can we ensure responsible use of our ocean?

“We can develop an economy around the ocean that will allow Bermuda in the 21st century and beyond to be sustainable — that creates a great opportunity to protect the ocean that is such a part of who I am and all Bermudians are.”

The MPA could see at least 20 per cent of Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone, 90,000 square kilometres out of 465,000 square kilometres of ocean, turned into a marine protected area.

The plan also featured the development of ocean industries such as tourism and sustainable fishing.

The tie-up with the Waitt Foundation is part of Blue Prosperity Coalition, an organisation set up to create long-term partnerships with governments to implement marine protection schemes for 30 per cent of seas around the world.

The coalition said 30 per cent of the oceans must be protected to maximise fisheries and allow marine resources to recover.

Ted Waitt, founder and chairman of the Waitt Foundation and Waitt Institute, said: “On behalf of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, we are really excited that the Bermuda Government recognises that the key to its long-term economic growth is protecting its ocean and you can do both at the same time.

“You can build prosperity for all citizens and do so in a very holistic manner that not only protects the environment but builds the economy for its citizens for a long time.”