Fishermen’s Association Declines To Ratify MOU

July 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

Members of the Fishermen’s Association of Bermuda met to deliberate over the proposed MOU intended to bring the organization back to engagement with the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Program and “declined to ratify the MOU.”

Fishermen’s Association of Bermuda:

A spokesperson said, “On Tuesday, July 18th, Members of the Fishermen’s Association of Bermuda met to deliberate over the proposed MOU intended to bring the organization back to engagement with the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Program. This document underwent multiple revisions during negotiations between FAB’s executive team and Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban, along with the technical advisors at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“After much debate and consideration, the Members of FAB declined to ratify the MOU. It was felt that redefining the fishing industry’s engagement with BOPP would not be adequate, when in fact what needs redefining is the core tenet of BOPP, the commitment to designate 20% of Bermuda’s waters as no-take. This commitment was made at the inception of BOPP, alluded to in the original MOU between the Ministry of Home Affairs, BIOS and the Waitt Institute, drafted and signed with no consultation of any stakeholders.

“Fishermen have been instrumental over the years in the development of Marine Stewardship principles in Bermuda. They identified and lobbied for the protection of the hind grounds and black grouper [rockfish] aggregation areas, pushed for protective size limitations for black grouper. They have identified real threats to marine habitats to DENR, warnings that often go ignored. Bermuda’s fishers participate in a non-industrial, small scale, low impact fishery with a limited market that inherently lends itself to sustainability, when managed properly. FAB is committed to continuing this ethos of Marine Stewardship, and will be developing their own Fisheries Management Plan for consideration of the public.”


A Ministry of Home Affairs spokesperson said, “The Fishermen’s Association of Bermuda [FAB] themselves drafted and provided the Ministry with a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] and the Government fully supported and committed to it in an effort for them to rejoin the process. Furthermore, the Government met all obligations and was in agreement with the FAB on the items outlined in the final draft of the MOU.”

“It is most disappointing that despite the Ministry of Home Affairs making every effort to fulfil the requests made by the general membership of the FAB to finalise a MOU and proceed to work together to protect Bermuda’s waters, they have chosen to withdraw their support and not participate in the process.

“The Ministry has complete confidence in the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme process, their work thus far, and the work that the hardworking team at DENR do to protect our environment. However, despite our best effort, the FAB has again withdrawn its support.

“And so, despite this turn of events, in the interest of the people of Bermuda, it is the Government’s role and responsibility to ensure the sustainable use and protection of our most valuable asset for current and future generations of Bermudians.

“To that end, the Government remains committed to an integrated strategy to enhance the management of the island’s entire Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] through improved management, enforcement and legislation, and the process will continue unabated. Members of the fishing community remain welcome to participate, and we will proceed with the BOPP process and come to a fair solution that will benefit the fishermen, other key stakeholders and the people of Bermuda.”

The full MOU letter to the Minister and Premier follows below [PDF here]:

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