Bermuda’s Blue Shield Progress
Bermuda, despite our small physical size of 21 sq. miles, has custody of 173,890 sq. miles of the Atlantic Ocean. The island’s coastal environments, coral reefs, and surrounding ocean are biologically rich, contain priceless marine cultural heritage, provide food and economic opportunities for Bermudians, and support diverse local and touristic recreational activities. Bermuda’s actions in safeguarding our marine ecosystems are vital to support the UK in meeting its pledge to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.
As of November 2021, Bermuda became the first Overseas Territory to participate in the UK Government’s Blue Shield Programme. This initiative supports the implementation of a comprehensive monitoring and surveillance regime within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), using innovative technology to tackle the challenges of illegal fishing and unlawful marine activities. Where necessary, Blue Shield will also assist in undertaking enforcement action against non-compliance, in order to strengthen the sustainable management and enforcement of our oceans.
Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Walter Roban, JP, MP, commented, “I am very excited for Bermuda to be participating in the Blue Shield programme and thank the UK Government for their willingness to share this vital piece of technology that will help support the surveillance, protection and management of our marine environment. Bermuda will continue to align itself with the highest standards needed for the protection of our oceans.”
Lord Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister for the Environment, commented that “support provided by the project to combat IUU fishing, manage vessel activity and marine development projects will underpin Bermuda’s existing protected areas management approach.”
In February 2022, representatives from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Marine Management Organisation visited Bermuda to witness the progress made on the programme and provided an update on how the system could be used to further protect Bermuda’s maritime EEZ.
You can learn more about this initiative in the links below: