A blue halo? A third pillar…. UPDATE

UPDATE: Government released this today (Feb 27) http://www.govsubportal.com/news/item/1643-hamilton-declaration-to-be-signed-in-bermuda-on-march-11th-2014

Great news, but why not now push on with the Blue Halo?

Imagine something that makes Bermuda a world leader, that puts it on the world map and which has the potential to become that elusive third pillar of the economy.

According to its website, www.bermudabluehalo.org, the Bermuda Blue Halo project is a proposed marine reserve “that will encompass much of Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone, (E.E.Z.), within the Sargasso Sea”.

It adds: “By creating the marine reserve, we will show the world that we are serious about preserving our ocean environment for future generations.”

But it has the potential to be much more than that.bluehalo

It could make Bermuda a world centre for marine research and I have been told that there are some serious players out there who are interested in setting up research projects here.

Imagine the conference opportunities, imagine the potential for a marine college or marine centres, and imagine the employment and construction opportunities.

Imagine the worldwide publicity. National Geographic front cover? No, problem.

There are the doubters – people (some with a vested interest) say it will stop any future mining of the ocean bed and that mining could earn tons of money.

There are those who say it will kill local fishing. There have been people who say it will stop the lucrative fishing tournaments coming here. Why? Fishing would not be banned.

This is what it says on the Blue Halo website: “With this in mind, the reserve around Bermuda will have an inner and outer ring. In the inner ring (the area that is closest to Bermuda), current activities will not change.

“The idea is not to impede Bermudians who earn their livelihood through marine activities (both commercial and recreational). The outer ring, however, will encompass the reserve.”

Public consultation on the project ended towards the end of last year. I am not exactly sure what is happening now, it has gone quiet. I hope the doubters have not had their way.

This is what Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson had to say about it in an open letter to the Island: “The benefits of creating one of the largest fully protected marine reserves in the world would be immense.

“Along with the significant international recognition that would result from your leadership, you would be safeguarding Bermuda’s waters for future generations, creating a living marine laboratory for scientific research, strengthening the Island’s resilience to climate change, and bolstering Bermuda’s economy by ensuring a lucrative and sustainable tourism industry for generations to come.”

If what I have been told is true I cannot think of any reason not to press full steam ahead with the plan. It is no brainer, a win/win for everyone.

What do you think? Email jdeacon@northrock.bm or leave a comment.

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