Volume 73

Engaging recreational fishers in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in Bermuda

Pitt, J; T. M. Warren
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Date: November, 2020

Pages: 45-46

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Three Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Virtual

Country: Virtual


The Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme is utilizing Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) to optimize sustainable growth across the maritime economy, based on sector-specific assessments, while managing marine resources for the future by incorporating 20% of Bermuda’s EEZ within a network of fully protected areas (MPAs). The stakeholder engagement process, centered on working groups called the Ocean Village, recruits sector representatives who then reach out to their organizational members and personal networks in order to acquire wide-ranging input on the MSP objectives and the spatial distribution of particular stakeholder activities, the latter facilitated by participatory GIS. This works well for industry groups, but less efficiently for recreational activities. At present, lobster diving and spearfishing are the only recreational fishing activities that are licensed, with known participants. The Lobster Divers Association facilitates easy contact with this sector, ensuring good representation, but spearfishers are fewer in number and not formally organized beyond social media groups. Angling clubs are known stakeholders but only cover ~8% of recreational hook and line fishers, primarily those targeting pelagic species. Reef and shoreline fishers are not well represented by the clubs, and contacting these stakeholders is challenging. Facilitators therefore utilized social media and personal networks to identify potential participants for this working group. Further, while email communications were standard, some fishers preferred to communicate by phone or messaging apps. This highlights that overarching models of stakeholder engagement may not fit all sectors, especially for recreational activities, so multiple approaches are necessary, social networking is useful, and flexibility is key.

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