Bermuda's Blue Halo project seems to have become stuck and I'm wondering whether there is a way of getting it 'unstuck.' After all, it does not seem to be a bad idea to create a marine reserve within part (or all?) of Bermuda's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Established through the United Nations's Law of the Sea, Bermuda's EEZ extends 200nm out from the island and encompasses an area of 179,514sqm (The Future of Bermuda's Exclusive Economic Zone, 2014, p7). Pretty impressive for an island only 21sqm itself.
We consider ourselves very sophisticated so I was surprised to learn the Barbuda Blue Halo project had come to fruition in an article by Scott Pierce, "This Tiny Island Is Way Ahead Of Major Countries When It Comes to Ocean Regulation" written for Collectively.
I am not involved in the Blue Halo project and only followed the arguments for and against on Facebook - which is probably not the best environment for reasoned discussion on this matter. However, it seems to me that Barbuda, with the help of the Wiatt Foundation, has managed to concoct a compromise that balances its economic and environmental interests.
Are we in Bermuda not capable of doing the same? We spend time talking at each other instead of being in dialogue with each other. Also, we seemed to approach this project from fixed positions. Bermuda Blue Halo proposes two rings: one for existing activities to continue as before and another, wider, ring for a marine reserve. Perhaps that needs some more thought.
Then again, others consider the economic potential of, say, seabed extraction of precious minerals - as yet unexplored and, if we are honest, not likely to be explored any time soon without many millions of dollars that we do not have - to be such that no marine reserve should be contemplated at all.
We do this a lot in Bermuda: start from opposites corners of the boxing ring and forget there is a middle. The Blue Halo supporters appear to be seeking that middle ground. The economic fantasists? I'm not so sure.
The Sustainable Development Department undertook substantial public consultation in the autumn of 2014, the above-mentioned The Future of Bermuda's Exclusive Economic Zone, and concluded that more research needed to be done before committing to either the economic or environmental strand. Theoretically, this forces supporters on both sides to try harder. Hmm...
To 'unstick' this project, a time-frame and deadline must be attached to this research. The potential of our EEZ as either a marine or financial (or combination thereof) bonanza deserves to be fully understood, and soon.