Log In

Reset Password

Blue economy could lead to coral reef restoration, solar facility

Asia Williams, the blue economy manager for the Waitt Institute, speaks during the Hamilton Rotary Club's meeting last week. (Photograph by Stefano Ausenda)

A community solar scheme could be developed by a programme designed to back marine sustainability projects, a Waitt Institute representative has revealed.

Another project that may receive future support from this initiative is a coral garden restoration scheme.

Asia Williams, the blue economy manager for the Waitt Institute, discussed these two proposals during the Hamilton Rotary Club’s meeting last week.

The Waitt Institute, which works with governments and other organisations to create and implement policies for sustainable oceans, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bermuda Government and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences in 2019.

This agreement led to the formation of the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme, which aims to “foster the sustainable, profitable and enjoyable use of ocean resources for present and future generations”.

A key aspect of the BOPP is the blue economy strategy, which has four major roles: to increase investment into Bermuda, to promote sustainable fisheries, to produce cleaner energy and to expand marine-based tourism.

A blue investment facility has been proposed to support this strategy.

A BOPP spokesman said: “The blue investment facility is designed to support projects throughout the [entire] development process; from early ideas that require further research and technical assistance to fully mature, operational business plans.”

The coral garden initiative is one of the potential projects that the facility may support in the future.

According to the spokesman, this proposed enterprise will aim to grow young corals to support Bermuda’s reef restoration. This may include providing tours and workshops to tourists and students.

They said: “The coral gardening project is an example of a potential project that could support the blue investment facility, but it is not one that has been officially selected.”

Another proposed initiative for the blue economy strategy is a community solar project. This proposal fits with one of the BOPP’s key goals of producing cleaner and cheaper energy. This project is also in its very early stages of development.

The BOPP spokesman said: “Reducing dependency on fossil fuels will benefit the environment and the pocketbooks of Bermuda’s residents.

“[This project] really helps BOPP [move further] towards climate change mitigation.”

In order for these two projects and many others to come into fruition, the BOPP needs to secure additional funding for the blue investment facility.

“We have been in contact with several local banks and foreign investors who are very interested in playing a role in BOPP,” the spokesman said. “We are hoping to make an announcement regarding the specific organisations as we build out the governance of the blue investment facility.”

According to Ms Williams, the investment facility will be fully established in three years’ time.

After Ms Williams, the Rotarians heard from marine spatial planning specialist Sarah Brooks, who tuned into the meeting via Zoom.

Ms Brooks discussed the BOPP’s marine spatial plan, which is in place to manage the space and resources available within Bermuda’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.

She showed a map of which areas within the EEZ would be most and least suitable for renewable energy development, specifically wind and wave energy. The areas deemed most suitable were towards the outer north-eastern area of the zone.

Ms Brooks said: “Our renewable energy model took environmental constraints, such as coral reefs, and human uses, such as busy shipping lanes, into consideration.”

She also showed a map of which areas within the EEZ would be most and least regulated and protected from fishing. The areas with the most biodiversity will get the heaviest protection.

“The green areas include important sea mount chains. Sea mounts are considered biodiversity hotspots,” Ms Brooks said. “The area directly to our south east also covers a diversity of different habitats.

“By protecting a variety of habitats, we will also be protecting a wide variety of species.”

Ms Brooks also showed a protection map of the island’s near-shore area. The area including Spanish Point, part of the North Shore and the Great Sound appeared to be the most protected areas.

• To learn more about the BOPP, the blue economy strategy and the marine spatial plan,go to www.bermudaoceanprosperity.org

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published October 26, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated October 26, 2022 at 8:00 am)

Blue economy could lead to coral reef restoration, solar facility

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon