A three-year action plan to bring additional protection for Bermuda’s marine environment in partnership with Britain has begun to be drafted.
Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, told the House of Assembly this morning that efforts to bring the Blue Shield programme to the island are under way and could offer an “impressive array” of assistance for Bermuda.
Among the benefits under discussion are the introduction of underwater camera and microphone equipment, satellite surveillance data to help to focus enforcement activity and training in both specialist satellite survey technology and case management.
Mr Roban said: “For us it will provide a complete picture of marine activities, which will allow improved management of our waters.
“Through establishing compliance and enforcement frameworks, Blue Shield will actively monitor activity, assisting us to ensure environmental regulations are met.
“Where necessary, Blue Shield will also help Bermuda to undertake enforcement action against non-compliance.”
Mr Roban added that he was particularly excited about the focus on protecting Bermuda’s marine resources.
He said: “Our exclusive economic zone extends out approximately 370km, or 200 miles, from our shores, roughly in the shape of a circle.
“With this in mind, one of our biggest challenges is having a good understanding of the ‘goings-on’ or maritime domain awareness of the threats in our EEZ.
“To date this has been very challenging but advances in technology, combined with assistance from our neighbours, as well as better integration of our local assets, mean that it is now possible to monitor and manage our EEZ almost in real time.”
Bermuda became the first overseas territory to join the Blue Shield programme last year.