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Blue Prosperity Newsletter - December 2022

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Image: Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Hu’akavameiliku (Siaosi Sovaleni), GLISPA Executive Director, Kate Brown, Waitt Institute Executive Director, Dr. Kathryn Mengerink, Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the US State Department, Monica Medina, Waitt Institute Founder and Chairman, Ted Waitt, Maldives Minister of Environment Hon. Aminath Shauna, and Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Health and the Environment, Sir Molwyn Joseph.

Many deemed 2022 the Year of the Ocean with multiple international conferences focused on ensuring sustainable oceans. Leaders around the world used these platforms to promise action. Now, it is time to make good on these promises to ensure a prosperous future for generations to come. This is what makes our Blue Prosperity partners so special. They are not just calling for action. They are doing the hard work needed to achieve marine protection, sustainable fisheries, and blue economies.

Beyond commitments, it is these actions by governments, stakeholders and communities that will lead to the change that is needed to ensure the sustainable future of our ocean. I look forward to continuing our support of these programs and celebrating their successes in 2023.

Warmly, Kathryn Kathryn Mengerink, JD, PhD Executive Director of the Waitt Institute


At a glance:

  • Azores is nearing completion of stakeholder consultation for the offshore Marine Spatial Plan.

  • Bermuda’s people are providing input on a draft Blue Prosperity Plan that will lead to a Marine Spatial Plan and a blue investment facility.

  • In the Federated States of Micronesia, Congress is considering a new Marine Spatial Planning bill.

  • In Fiji, the Government, NGOs and communities are continuing the process to realize their long-term commitment to protect 30% of their ocean by 2030.

  • Thousands of Maldivians have provided detailed input on how they use and value the ocean so that the Government can determine what to protect and manage.

  • Across Samoa, communities are providing input on a draft Marine Spatial Plan.

  • Tonga has a Marine Spatial Plan approved by Cabinet and is now finalizing a legal framework that will ensure its implementation. Read on for recent updates and milestones that each program has reached in 2022.

AZORES: Offshore Consultation Process Nears Conclusion

Image: Jorge Gonçalves, president of Demersal Fisheries Association, at a recent stakeholder meeting.

The Regional Government of the Azores is nearing completion of the offshore planning process. President Jose Manuel Bolieiro has attended the last 7 consultation sessions with key ocean stakeholders. The team held several meetings with representatives of the fishing industry to organize and begin analyzing the needs for fleet restructuring. Blue Azores also hosted a booth at the Oceanographic Science Festival, where they met with Prince Albert I of Monaco and spoke to over 100 students.


  • Completed the Ocean Use Survey in partnership with SeaSketch to gather input on how people use the ocean on 6 of the 9 islands.

  • Held 7 stakeholder meetings on offshore Marine Protected Areas with key stakeholders.

  • The program welcomed Regional Government of the Azores focal lead Luis Bernardo Brito e Abreu.

  • Blue Azores was featured in the Atlas Concert for Earth which was attended by over 10,000 people on São Miguel.

BERMUDA: Draft Blue Prosperity Plan Open for Public Comment

Image: Dr. Tammy Warren, Cheryl-Ann Mapp, Jirani Welch, Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Walter H. Roban JP, MP, Dr. Bill Curry, Sarah Brooks, Noelle Young, Drew Petit, Ali Hochberg at Bermuda Zoological Society.

Bermuda’s Draft Blue Prosperity Plan opened for public comment September 12 and continues through December 31, 2022. To gather feedback from as many people as possible, the BOPP team hosted events including 3 public consultations, 16 Ocean Village stakeholder meetings, a youth consultation in collaboration with Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS) and Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), two pop-up events, targeted outreach to Bermuda Rotary, reinsurance companies, and the Bermuda Hotel Association, a booth at the Bermuda Tech Summit and the Bermuda Youth Climate Summit, and individual outreach to commercial fishers to refine ocean use maps. Additional events planned this month include a youth consultation with BIOS, two pop-ups, targeted outreach meetings, and 6 Ocean Village meetings.


  • Released Bermuda’s Draft Blue Prosperity Plan in August 2022 which includes:

    • The Blue Economy Strategy, a guideline for growing Bermuda's ocean-related industries and attracting investment opportunities;

    • The Marine Spatial Plan, a framework for implementing sustainable ocean development, 20% full protection, and management.

  • The Blue Economy team secured its first financial commitment to the Blue Investment Facility.

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA (FSM): H.E. President David W. Panuelo introduces Marine Spatial Planning Act to Congress

Image: Pictured are Yolanda Joab Mori, Nicole Yamase, William Kostka and members of Association of Pacific Island Legislatures (APIL).

Once enacted, this legislation will create the legal framework to establish and govern a Marine Spatial Plan in offshore waters. In parallel, the Government's technical staff from the National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) and the Department of Resources and Development (R&D) began identifying priority areas for protection, and consultants initiated three separate studies to explore opportunities for economic diversification. The team also collaborated with Victor Vescovo and his team to release a video shot by Verola Media aboard the Caladan’s Oceanic Pressure Drop of traditional navigator Sesario Sewralur on the first manned dive to the bottom of the Yap Trench.


  • Drafted and submitted Marine Spatial Planning Act to Congress.

  • Identified priority areas for consideration for protection while simultaneously minimizing impacts to the tuna fisheries.

  • Initiated coastal work in Kosrae and completed an Ocean Use Survey representing how 1,300 Kosreans use and value their ocean.

  • Performed feasibility studies for a portfolio of revenue-generating opportunities, including diversification of seafood markets, development of a portside hub, and expansion of the geotourism industry.

FIJI: Three new team members added to Blue Prosperity Fiji

Image: The Waitt Institute team joins SeaSketch and our partners at IUCN Oceania in Fiji.

The growing team welcomed Site Manager, Arthur Irwing Sokimi, Environment Coordinator, Andrew Paris, and Sustainable Fisheries Coordinator, Epeli Maisema. Blue Prosperity Fiji held a three-day workshop in partnership with IUCN to train partners in the SeaSketch mapping platform that supports on-going ocean management. A working group of over 40 member organizations was convened to help plan and guide Ocean Use Surveys that will produce maps of ocean use through public engagement.


  • Established Blue Prosperity Fiji's 5-year Program of Work.

  • Onboarded three local positions to lead engagement with government partners and stakeholders.

  • Began assessments for fisheries, legal, Marine Spatial Planning, and blue economy.

MALDIVES: Completed Largest Ocean Use Survey to Date Representing 26,000 people

Image: One by one tuna fishers captured in action during the Noo Raajje listening tour.

A listening tour focused on Maldivian fishers was completed to better understand their priorities for the future of the ocean, engaging with 1,886 people. The tour represented the first in a series of planned public engagements to learn how key stakeholders view ocean planning, what their concerns are, and what the existing factors are that could affect Marine Protected Area implementation. The next phase of engagement will begin in early 2023 once the draft offshore plan is approved for public consultations.


  • Completed a nationwide Ocean Use Survey in partnership with SeaSketch that represents over 26,000 people from all 189 inhabited islands. This information will be crucial for evaluating ocean uses and informing the Marine Spatial Plan.

  • Finalized the draft Marine Spatial Plan Act.

  • Created a draft Offshore Marine Spatial Plan.

  • Completed Maldives Fisheries Characterization report in partnership with emLab, the Maldives Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, and the Maldives Marine Research Institute.

  • Completed Maldives Seafood Market Assessment in partnership with Key Traceability which explores challenges and opportunities for marketing Maldivian fisheries products.

SAMOA: Community Consultations for the Marine Spatial Plan Continue

Image: Community consultation with Lepa and Lotofaga.

The second round of national community consultations for Marine Spatial Planning is underway in Samoa led by Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations (SUNGO), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), Maritime Police, and Conservation International. Marine Spatial Planning is a key piece of the Samoa Ocean Strategy (SOS), the national policy framework to sustainably manage Samoa’s ocean resources.


  • Community and stakeholder consultations continued on Samoa’s draft Marine Spatial Plan conducted by representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, SUNGO, Conservation International, and IUCN.

  • Partners from the National University of Samoa led the development of a Science Strategy to identify and prioritize research needs in the support of the SOS.

  • Launched logo, website, and Facebook page.

  • Completed a scientific expedition to survey Samoa’s coral reefs with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), CRIOBE, Conservation International, the Waitt Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

  • Partners from the National University of Samoa drafted a Science Strategy to support the SOS.

TONGA: Progress on Marine Spatial Planning

Image: Waitt Institute Executive Director Dr. Kathryn Mengerink and Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Hu’akavameiliku (Siaosi Sovaleni), at the UN Ocean Conference.

The Waitt Institute met with Hon. Hu’akavameiliku (Siaosi Sovaleni), Prime Minister of Tonga, to discuss our program of work and to progress ocean planning. A legal drafting session will be held this month to finalize the Marine Spatial Planning law. Following a recent expedition, an initial Field Report was submitted to the Tongan Government.


  • Completed a scientific expedition to evaluate the impacts of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano and tsunami in Tonga led by the Ministry of Fisheries, Department of Environment and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources with Principal Investigator Karen Stone, Executive Director of the Vava'u Environmental Protection Association (VEPA), and supported by the Waitt Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and CRIOBE. This information will be compared to data from our 2017 Tonga expedition to assess impacts from the eruption on the marine environment.

  • Welcomed a Marine Spatial Planning Manager within the Tonga Department of Environment.


President of the Federated States of Micronesia, H.E. David W. Panuelo

H.E. President David W. Panuelo is the visionary leader behind the Blue Prosperity Micronesia program. His vision to protect the “Paradise in Our Backyard” has led to several important ocean commitments, including the introduction of the Marine Spatial Planning bill into the 22nd FSM Congress. Earlier in July 2022, President Panuelo announced the FSM's joining and support for the Alliance of Countries for a Deep-Sea Mining Moratorium.

"A better world is not something we ask for. A better world is something we build."

--- H.E. President David W. Panuelo


Arthur Irwing Sokimi

Blue Prosperity Fiji

Site Manager

Emma Head

Waitt Institute

Communications Manager

Ellen Spooner

Waitt Institute

Communications Manager


Blue Azores is hiring a Program Assistant in the Azores!


Image: Taken by Waitt Institute Communications Director, Shayna Brody

Mia Kami received the UN Foundation's SDG Vanguard Award which recognizes leaders whose work and impact reflects the urgency of the SDG agenda and the imperative to leave no one behind. As a Tongan artist, Mia uses her music to inspire action for the ocean and environment in the Pacific and beyond.

Image: From Ocean Image Bank/Amanda Cotton

Research from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and partners show that people, wildlife, and marine environment benefit when island-ocean connections are restored.


Our Ocean Conference, Panama, March 2-3, 2023

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