Bermuda Becomes First OT To Join Blue Shield

November 17, 2021

Bermuda will be the first British Overseas Territory to join Blue Shield, a “new UK Government initiative aimed at tackling illegal fishing and other unlawful activities around the UK Overseas Territories.”

A Government spokesperson said, “The first line of defence: Blue Shield maritime domain awareness programme established for UK Overseas Territories

  • The Blue Shield programme provides comprehensive tools to the Overseas Territories for the defence of their seas against illegal activities.
  • A suite of support will be offered, including innovative technology and surveillance techniques.
  • Bermuda is announced as the first Territory to join the Blue Shield Programme.

“The Blue Shield Programme is a new UK Government initiative aimed at tackling illegal fishing and other unlawful activities around the UK Overseas Territories.

“Announced at this week’s Joint Ministerial Council [JMC], the Blue Shield Programme is the latest project funded by the Blue Belt programme, which actively protects and enhances over 4 million square kilometers of ocean globally.

“The Blue Shield Programme will identify and analyse activities taking place within the maritime domains of participating Territories that may impact the health and sustainability of their biodiverse marine environments. It will provide a full picture of marine activities to Territories, which will allow improved management of their waters.

“The activities surveyed could include illegal, unreported, and unregulated [IUU] fishing, commercial and recreational vessel activity, as well as shipping activity.

“Through the establishment of compliance and enforcement frameworks, Blue Shield will actively monitor activity, assisting the Territories to ensure environmental regulations are met. Where necessary, Blue Shield will also assist Territories to undertake enforcement action against non-compliance.

“Blue Shield Territories will be supported through specialist training for on-island staff to build local capacity, as well as being given access to innovative surveillance and enforcement techniques. These include:

  • Autonomous drone technology that can monitor vast areas of ocean for human activity and report its findings in real time.
  • Passive acoustic units, which once deployed underwater can monitor for the sounds of vessels which have their GPS positioning systems turned off.
  • Latest satellite surveillance data can be used to monitor maritime activity across entire Exclusive Economic Zones.

“Maritime domain awareness is currently provided to Overseas Territories which are part of the Blue Belt; however this important capability is now available via the Blue Shield to all interested Overseas Territories.

Lord Zac Goldsmith, Minister for the Environment, commented, “The Blue Shield Programme is an exciting new initiative supporting the UK Overseas Territories to monitor and manage their vast marine areas.

“As a standalone maritime domain awareness programme, supporting all aspects of environment management, this will underpin Territories enforcement and management strategies, provide training and access to new and immerging technologies such as intelligence data from commercial satellite surveillance. This will ensure that the Territories can properly protect their wonderful marine environments against the threat of IUU [illegal, unregulated and unreported] fishing and damaging activities.

“Bermuda today announced that it would be the first Overseas Territory to join Blue Shield. 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.

“I am very pleased to announce the launch of the new Blue Shield programme, and I very much look forward to working with Bermuda on this initiative.”

Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban 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.

“Following on from our leading participation in the Sargasso Sea Commission, our Blue Belt/Blue Shield involvement further strengthens Bermuda’s role as custodian of one of the world’s foremost marine ecosystems.”

The Blue Shield details follow below [PDF here]:

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Category: All, Environment, News

Comments (2)

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  1. Taxes says:

    We should be getting taxes from all those illegal long ones fishing vessels in our waters!!! All we need is a helicopter to record the ships and when then pull into ports they pay us $!!!

  2. Dark Star says:

    How about going after the same old crooked fisherman who get away with anything they want locally to set an example to all?? Seriously certain families think that everything in the water solely belongs to them (a certain family in Spanish Point is the obvious first one to go after— it is so obvious, they brag year after year, and the Gov’t does nothing)