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Fishermen want top-level meeting to discuss ‘mutually beneficial’ marine plan

Fishing vessels heading back to port (File photograph)

A fishing industry group has served Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, with a request to discuss “revising the methodology” for a controversial marine conversation plan.

The letter from the Fishermen’s Association Bermuda, sent yesterday, suggested potentially including the Cabinet in the talks over the draft Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme, which the group opposes in its present form.

The group maintained that members felt their professional input in drafting marine protected areas was being “severely diminished”.

Allan Bean, the association president, added that what had been presented was not a “Bermuda plan”.

He said FAB viewed the proposal as “a modified version of the same plan used in other countries” that had significant differences from Bermuda.

Under the BOPP, 20 per cent of the island’s exclusive economic zone off shore is to be set aside for protection.

Mr Bean wrote that fishermen had been told the total protected area was “fixed” — and that only suggestions for relocating no-fishing zones would be entertained.

Mr Roban and Drew Pettit, the chairman of the BOPP steering committee, have called for fishermen to rejoin consultation on the marine plan.

But Mr Bean said the group wanted a top-level meeting with the minister to redraw how the plan was to be shaped.

In the meantime, FAB had “overwhelmingly agreed not to re-engage” with consultation groups, saying the plan was based on bad science.

He added that it failed to address threats posed by “pollution, water run-off, erosion and construction”.

The group said its petition against the BOPP had drawn “thousands” of supporters and would be “presented in due course”.

The letter highlighted the role of fishermen in drawing up protections going back decades.

The call for a meeting with the Government closed with a commitment by the FAB executive to “developing a mutually beneficial plan”.

To read FAB’s letter to Mr Roban in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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Published December 21, 2022 at 8:01 am (Updated December 21, 2022 at 8:35 am)

Fishermen want top-level meeting to discuss ‘mutually beneficial’ marine plan

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