The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce [BEST] and Greenrock said they are “concerned about the creeping commercialisation of areas outside of the five beaches plan of the Bermuda Tourism Authority.”

“Under the existing plan only five beaches are designated for development and concessions – Horseshoe Bay, John Smith’s Bay, Shelley Bay, Clearwater Beach and Tobacco Bay,” a statement from the groups said.

“Despite this, we are seeing the commercialisation of Coot Pond, an environmentally sensitive site to the east of [and separate from] Tobacco Bay.

“We welcome jobs for Bermudians and enhancements to Bermuda’s tourism product. However, we cannot endorse activities which do so at the expense of Bermuda’s environment and risk undermining Bermuda’s tourism product in the long-term.

“Coot Pond is an ecologically sensitive area; the landward edges of the bay is composed entirely of nature reserve, coastal reserve and parkland. The bay provides an important mangrove and seagrass habitat, providing key roosting areas for herons and a protected area for juvenile fish and lobsters.

“The seagrass also serves as a feeding ground for juvenile green sea turtles that frequent the bay. It is also a key breeding ground for fry and other baitfish – this is marked by it being one of the few bays closed to net fishing for baitfish.

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