Ministry Celebrates 2023 World Oceans Day

June 8, 2023 | 0 Comments

Today [June 8], the Ministry of Home Affairs is celebrating World Oceans Day, with this year’s theme, ‘Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing.’

A spokesperson said, “This year’s theme, ‘Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing,’ highlights that despite our reliance on the ocean as a vital resource, it receives little attention and help in return, and only a tiny portion of its waters have been explored; therefore, we must begin to put the oceans first.”

Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Walter Roban commented, “As an island, the ocean plays a vital role in the lives of Bermuda’s citizens, and the Ministry is acutely aware of the need to put the ocean first by working to protect and better manage this essential resource.”

“And so we are proud to celebrate World Oceans Day and highlight the importance of the ocean as a source of life and livelihood. We encourage all citizens to take action to protect our ocean and its marine life, and we stand ready to support them in these efforts.”

A  virtual art gallery by Bernews with the theme of a ‘New Look at the Ocean’

The spokesperson said, “To that end, the Ministry is pleased that several developments have progressed locally and internationally to protect the ocean and its marine life, which include:

  • The Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework agreement, which is a historic global framework to safeguard, halt, and reverse biodiversity loss, putting nature on a path to recovery by 2050. The Framework has four overarching goals that outline a vision for biodiversity by 2050 focused on:
    • 1] addressing threats to biodiversity;
    • 2] sustainable use of biodiversity and valuing its contributions to human life;
    • 3] ensuring the benefits from using genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge are fairly and equitably shared; and
    • 4] providing adequate resources to implement the Framework.

“There are also twenty-three targets to be achieved by 2030, including one to conserve 30%of land and sea.

  • The Memorandum of Understanding between the Sargasso Sea Commission and the Inter-American Sea Turtle Convention promotes the effective conservation of sea turtles and the habitats that they use and depend on. The MOU aims to create a collaborative framework between the agencies to disseminate scientific information about the important ecosystem role of sea turtles and to exchange information to identify any threats to sea turtles and measures to mitigate those threats. The Sargasso Sea plays a crucial role in sea turtles’ development and survival by serving as the centre of the dispersal routes for Atlantic turtles hatching on the coasts of North America, Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. After hatchling sea turtles leave their nesting beach, they use floating rafts of Sargassum for development, which provides cover and an easy source of prey. Many turtles move into Bermuda waters to develop further before becoming adults.
  • The landmark High Seas Treaty agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The treaty aims to establish a legal framework for high-seas governance and was finalised at the UN Headquarters in March 2023. This treaty will provide a mechanism for establishing marine protected areas on the high seas, which is crucial for meeting the UN Biodiversity Conference target to protect 30% of the land and sea by 2030. The Sargasso Sea is one of the most mature high seas conservation efforts, with the work of the Sargasso Sea Commission [and previous Sargasso Sea Alliance] going on for over a decade, with the support and leadership of the Bermuda Government. The Sargasso Sea provides a nursery habitat for marine turtles and sport fish, a migratory corridor for whales and sharks, and a spawning area for endangered anguillid eels. This treaty will allow the Sargasso Sea to be protected, which will also positively affect Bermuda’s coastal ecosystems.
  • Continuing to finalise the Blue Prosperity Plan for Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ]. The final Plan, expected later this year, will outline the first steps for Bermuda to become a global leader and a hub for investment in sustainable industries. A genuine effort has been made to include all of Bermuda’s stakeholders in creating a long-term plan to manage, protect and benefit sustainably from our ocean environment.
  • The recently launched LED Stimulus package reduces energy consumption while helping residents save. The distribution of 150,000 LED light bulbs to the most vulnerable: seniors and low-income households, is ongoing. Following this initial distribution, LED light bulb packages will be made available for those individuals who are not seniors or in the lower income bracket but still want to lower their energy costs.
  • The Ministry is also progressing with the legislative ban on single-use plastics. Plastics, and in particular single-use plastic, are having a detrimental effect on ocean health. Some 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year, and by 2050 it is estimated that the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish. Single-use plastics comprise almost all of the top ten items in coastal clean-ups. In order of magnitude, these are: cigarette butts, food wrappers, straws and stirrers, plastic cutlery, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, plastic bags, plastic cups and plates, plastic lids

“The Ministry of Home Affairs will continue progressing these and other initiatives that will protect our oceans, land, and air for the betterment of all.”

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