To conserve and restore Bermuda’s natural heritage.
The objectives of the Department of Conservation Services are:
To promote the conservation and sustainable use of Bermuda’s
To assess the status of Bermuda’s unique habitats and species and
to promote the preservation and restoration of threatened species
To produce and deliver educational materials and exhibits to promote
appreciation and care of Bermuda’s natural heritage.
To engage the community in the pursuit of responsible and
sustainable use of home gardens, farming, fishing, diving and
Current account expenditure : $5,298,000 (+12%)460,649 (+ 3%)
Revenue : $ 951,000 (+9%)40,500 (-1%)
Capital acquisitions : $ nil136,699
Capital development : $ 1,637,000
Staff : 524 (34 vacancies)
The Department’s current account expenditure for 2007/2008 is $5.3
million or 3% higher than the original estimate for 2006/2007.
---edited to here----
*** - need updated information ***63% of the budget is devoted to salaries
and wages totalling $3.3 million for a staff of 52, including 32 industrial
Just over half of the current account expenditure ($2.69 million or 51%) is
devoted to operating the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo.
$376,000, or approximately half of the Department of Conservation
Services’ budget for Materials and Supplies has been allocated for the
purchase of agricultural and horticultural products, seeds and supplies for
the Marketing Centre. The most significant changes in allocations to Object
In support of the development and implementation of a strategic plan for
the sustainability of Bermuda’s Agricultural Sector, $151,000 has been
allocated for training and support for the local agricultural industry.
These funds will be used to keep technical officers and farmers up to date
with new information, products and innovations to increase the yields of
local produce as well as to promote home gardening and support the
development of plans and systems to ensure the viability of agriculture into
$100,000 has been allocated for implementation of the community-based
Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. These funds will be used to
promote collaborative conservation action projects involving NGOs,
environmental organizations, community groups and businesses in
partnership with Government agencies.
A Grant and Contribution in the amount of $155,000 is designated for the
Bermuda Biodiversity Project being undertaken by BAMZ in co-operation
with the Bermuda Zoological Society.
$45,000 has been designated for an initiative that aims to promote the use
of Environmentally Sensitive Moorings in Bermuda’s inshore waters.
Unlike traditional moorings these systems do not rely on heavy ground
chains which crush bottom dwelling organisms and destroy essential fish
The implementation of Species Recovery Plans as mandated in the
Protected Species Act receives $100,000. These plans aim to stabilize and
ultimately increase threatened populations of Bermuda’s unique organisms.
$1.1 million is included in the Capital Development Account to support
the construction of a purpose-designed zoo animal centre.
Revenue for 2006/2007 is estimated to increase to by 8% to $950,000.
This results from revenue from projected admissions to BAMZ growing by
2% to $510,00 and income from produce sales at the Marketing Centre
which is anticipated to increase by 9% to $437,500.
Current Account Expenditure – Conservation Services
Object 2006/2007 2007/2008 %
Code Estimate Estimate
Salaries 1,503 1508 0%
Wages 1,809 1721 %
Training 213 224 5%
Transport 10 10 0%
Travel 27 27 0%
Communications 56 56 0%
Advertising & Promotion 70 70 0%
Professional Services 221 256 16%
Rentals 10 10 0%
Repairs Maintenance 138 138 0%
Insurance 2 2 0%
Energy 270 270 0%
Clothing, Uniforms 10 10 0%
Materials & Supplies 800 900 13%
Equipment (minor capital) 4 4 0%
Grants & Contributions 155 255 65%
Total 5,298 5460
Current Account Expenditure and Revenue by Programme
Programme 2007/2008 2007/20087
Aquarium & Zoo 2,247
Applied Ecology 1,002
Botanical & Horticultural Services 882 438
Historic Wrecks 134 3
Total 5,954 941
The Year in Review 2006/2007
The Department of Conservation Services is charged with:
educating, communicating and raising public awareness;
conserving the Island’s natural resources and promoting “Green
conducting relevant research and maintaining an up-to-date data
strengthening relationships with NGOs; and
promoting scientifically appropriate study and documentation of
Bermuda’s Historic Wrecks.
Review of the Department
The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ) continues to be one
of the islands leading tourist facilities, attracting over 100,000 visitors last
year. In order to maintain our success and build on visitor numbers BAMZ
is committed to updating and improving our facility. Consequently, BAMZ
has renovated a number of exhibits over the last year.
The American Alligator Exhibit and associated walkway were remodelled
and made safer.
The Children’s Discovery Cove was completely renovated to include an
interactive reef, shipwreck, Bermuda fort and thatched cottage to
encourage children to learn about our history and natural history through
play. Further additions to the exhibit will be completed in the near future.
The Binturong Exhibit was revamped and two new Binturongs were
acquired from the US. In addition, an electrical vault has been built to
house upgraded transformers necessary for the new Animal Care Pavilion.
Construction of the new Animal Care Pavilion is expected to start in mid
January 2007. This new building will greatly enhance the infrastructure of
the zoo and will provide a fully functional veterinary hospital, quarantine
room, zoo kitchen and staff offices. The front of this building will be faced
with a new exhibit featuring the Island of Madagascar to continue with our
mission of “inspiring care and appreciation of island environments”.
Building and exhibit development is expected to continue throughout 2007.
Further, a Facility Master Plan is currently nearing completion. This
document lays out the roadmap for the facility over the next 15 years.
Future planned developments include a new food concession, an
enhanced sea turtle exhibit and a brand new front entrance and gift shop.
All new construction is located on the site of existing buildings to avoid
overdevelopment of the site and maintain the lush garden settings that our
Both the current construction and long term master plan are to be funded in
part by a Capital Campaign in partnership with the Bermuda
Zoological Society. The campaign has currently raised $7 million of an $8
million goal. This has been funded by both Government and private donors
with Government providing $xxx to date.
BAMZ and the BZS educational offerings have successfully continued
during the 2005-06 school year with over xxxx children attending
educational experiences. These included on and off-site classes, tours of
the facility, camps and special projects. The BAMZ bus has been an
integral part of maintaining student attendance at BAMZ by aiding in their
transport to and from the facility. The ’89 bus is coming to the end of its
useful life and it is hoped that a second bus can be acquired to continue the
success of this program.
Other education offerings included our award winning Junior Volunteer
Program which saw 15 (??) young people become actively involved in all
aspects of our facility. The Bermuda Natural History Course, Part 1 and 2,
was organized by the BZS and held in the BAMZ classrooms. XX adults
attended lectures and field trips educating them in all aspects of the natural
history of the island. In addition, a BZS “Teaching Guide to the Biology and
Geology of Bermuda” by Dr. Martin Thomas was provided free to all the
public schools and libraries in Bermuda. All of these educational offerings
are stellar examples of the collaboration between government (BAMZ) and
an NGO (BZS) to provide exceptional experiences without excessive
Archie the Harbour Seal underwent a very risky but ultimately life saving
operation. A unique operating theatre was created on the bottom of the
exhibit pool and a three hour surgery was completed successfully with the
help of BAMZ staff, volunteers and Endsmeet Animal Hospital. It should be
noted that BAMZ staff and volunteers provided round the clock post
surgical care to ensure that Archie recovered fully. This operation was the
first of its kind in seals which are notoriously difficult surgical patients.
BAMZ has continued to maintain its external accreditation with the
international Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This accreditation has
allowed us to partner with two large institutions in the United States, the
Denver Zoo and National Aquarium in Baltimore to develop an international
animal database, TRACKS. BAMZ recently hosted a very successful
conference on the island to further develop the capabilities of this program
and to build bridges that will be beneficial to all three institutions. In
addition, BAMZ is currently building partnerships with the South Carolina
Aquarium and it is hoped that some student exchange programs can be
developed in 2007 that will expose students of both countries to brand new
nature encounters and experiences.
In July The Bermuda Turtle Project again presented the International
Course on the Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. With a mission to
share knowledge with other countries that share sea turtle populations, to
date the two-week course has embraced more than 106 individuals from
twenty one countries in this exciting and meaningful research and
education effort. The programme includes lectures, class discussions of
assigned readings, a necropsy session, and eight days of field work aboard
the RV Calamus capturing immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas). The
course was taught by Drs. Peter and Anne Meylan and Jennifer Gray. Dr.
Ian Walker of BAMZ lectured on sea turtle necropsy methods, diseases
and other mortality factors followed by a necropsy session on dead
stranded specimens where each student gained first hand experience in
dissection methodology and data collection.
In its eleventh year, the course this year was perhaps the most dynamic
and team oriented that we have ever experienced. Our participants were
from Aruba, Bermuda, Colombia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the
United Kingdom and the United States. A total of 176 animals were
captured over the eight days of field research and a record 40% recapture
rate was attained. These data support the conclusion that these turtles
reside in Bermuda waters for extended periods, foraging in the same
location for many years. The team was fortunate to catch one turtle large
enough to receive a satellite transmitter. This animal was selected as it is
old enough that it may soon depart Bermuda and return to its point of
origin. The transmitter provides data that allow for studies of behaviour and
During the necropsy session the students dissected and analyzed twenty
three sea turtles that had been taken in through the Aquarium’s Wildlife
Rehabilitation Center. These represented four species, including a Kemp’s
Ridley turtle; a rare find in Bermuda. The availability of these specimens
provides students with hands-on opportunities to evaluate causes of
mortality in sea turtles. While many of these animals died from unknown
causes, a number of deaths resulted from entanglement in fishing line and
Promoting the implementation of the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is
largely an exercise in consultation, information gathering and partnership
building. This community-based plan includes 400 activities identified to
support 77 actions under 12 clearly defined objectives and involves a large
number of partner organizations and individuals.
Meetings with stakeholders were held throughout 2006 to review existing
commitments and document progress. This process has enhanced
collaboration amongst NGO’s and with Government agencies.
Of the many completed activities and successes to report on a few are
worth special mention.
The efforts of an environmental coalition called ECO has been
particularly effective. ECO is comprised of delegates from each of the
fifteen or more environmental NGO’s, Government representatives and key
individuals. The group meets regularly to share knowledge, discuss the
issues of the day and most importantly, to support each other in efforts to
promote a better Bermuda.
Efforts to increase public awareness of conservation issues include
but are not limited to the publishing of conservation ads throughout the
Bermuda Telephone Directory Yellow Pages, public lectures, educational
programmes and increased media coverage on conservation issues. The
Pilot for ENVIROSHORTS, an environmental documentary series hosted
by the Bermuda Broadcasting Company in collaboration with the Bermuda
Audubon Society was broadcast, receiving positive reviews.
The 4th bi-annual Environmental Youth Conference was organised
by Conservation Services in collaboration with NGO’s and experts in the
field to provide students and teachers from all of the Island’s schools an
exciting and full programme of environmental learning. With a theme of
“TODAY’S CHOICES FOR TOMORROW’S VOICES” this conference
empowered Bermudian children to make positive changes in their
environment. Sixty children from most of Bermuda’s public and private
schools participated in this 2-day programme which featured exploration of
critical environmental issues facing the island, the options for dealing with
these and the approaches being taken locally. The mixed programme of
lectures, workshops and field trips were supported by staff and volunteers
from all the major local environmental NGOs working in concert with staff
from the Department of Conservation Services. Twenty one teachers also
participated so that the lessons learned during the conference can become
systemic to local educational offerings.
Again this year The Nonsuch Island Natural History Camp provided
twelve promising young Bermudians with seven days intensive immersion
studying Bermuda’s unique marine and terrestrial environments.
Action for the environment as outlined in the BAP is the driving force
behind a group of young volunteers who meet regularly to serve the
environmental community. In 2006 these volunteers worked in many parks
and nature reserves culling invasive plant species, collecting and preparing
cedar seed and olivewood berries for propagation, assisting with office
needs in the Department of Conservation Services and supporting the
needs of three NGO’s; the Bermuda National Trust, Save Open Spaces
and the Bermuda Audubon Society.
The Non-Traditional Educators forum convened in 2006 with a goal
to improve opportunities for teachers and schools and make available
resources that are not readily available in the school system. The majority
in this forum represent environmental interests.
A BAP Steering Committee was established and meets to guide the
direction of the BAP.
A major step forward in the implementation of the Plan and Bermuda’s
commitments to the Environmental Charter was the visionary creation of a
draft Sustainable Development Strategy and Implementation Plan for
Bermuda. This landmark initiative provides an expanded framework within
which the BAP serves as the pillar to support the local conservation of
nature. This encouraging development ensures central Government
support in promoting and monitoring the success of the BAP.
The development and implementation of the Management Framework for
Historic Wrecks continued in 2006 with several new initiatives. The
location and mapping of shipwreck sites continued intensively
throughout the year and continues to be one of the primary missions of the
Custodian of Historic Wrecks. Most of the known wreck sites are now
catalogued according to their GIS coordinates and located in their actual
photographic locations on the Bermuda Biodiversity Project’s reef platform
photomap as part of an integrated GIS database management system.
The filming of shipwrecks and the production of film vignettes to aid the
Historic Wrecks Authority in classifying shipwrecks has continued in
earnest and has been one of the primary activities during 2006/07 with 27
wrecks being filmed. In addition to in-house filming, collaborative work with
the BUEI, New England Aquarium, and National Geographic continued
capturing an additional series of wrecks in High Definition. One short film
created from this HD footage that focuses on the shipwreck the Blanche
King is being shown on Look TV in order to prompt public interest in the
creation of a feature documentary on Bermuda Shipwrecks.
The Custodian assisted several documentary film crews in the production
of promotional underwater film segments for television. This included a
BBC documentary on the Bermuda Triangle which aired in September
and featured a dive segment on the shipwreck The Darlington.
In an extension of these collaborations, work continued on the Bermuda
Sea Level Rise Project in association with BUEI and researchers from the
Canadian Geological Survey. This project aims to decipher the rate of sea
level change over the last 7000 years and posits Bermuda as one of the
central places of global scientific interest in the critical analysis of current
sea level rise. The benefits to Bermuda of understanding trends in seal
level rise cannot be underscored. The collaboration will also promote our
understanding of the historic sea level context of many of Bermuda’s oldest
The Custodian also continued in his established role as an ocean sciences
researcher engaging the department in several key collaborative projects
linking Human and Environmental Health. This included the Bermuda
Mercury Programme which seeks to provide advice to residents, primarily
pregnant women, regarding healthy choices for fish consumption. In
collaboration with workers from Laval University a full complement of
samples from Bermuda fish were collected and analyzed and will result in
the publication of a comprehensive fish advisory for obstetricians in early
During the past year the Bermuda Biodiversity Project again focussed
efforts on work that is directly supportive of conservation management.
Areas of focus included assessments of reef health, management of
invasive species, mapping and assessments of critical habitats and aspects
of the biology of native species. Some highlights of this work include:
Analysis of the effectiveness of local marine protected areas was
conducted under a grant from NOAA.
Assessments of the health of local ponds were done including the
collection of samples for toxicity studies.
A re-survey of the occurrence and impact of the nudibranch Tritonia
was conducted. This predator of seafans was first observed locally
last year over large areas of the north lagoon. Its frequency of
occurrence and distribution was much reduced during 2006.
Research into the Diamondback Terrapin has indicated that this
species was probably not introduced by early settlers making it
another species that is considered native to Bermuda
A research cruise on the Cable Ship Innovator documented the biota
and geology of the northwest slope of the Bermuda Platform from
400m to 1000m. Biological and mineral samples were taken to add to
the collection of the museum at BAMZ.
A project to map Bermuda’s caves and provide unique educational
opportunities to local schools was initiated in collaboration with
explorers and educators from the US-based Cambrian Foundation.
Local technician assisted in providing live video and voice feeds from
cave divers were provided to students on-site at a cave entrance and
remotely at Cedarbridge Academy.
Additional educational opportunities provided through the Biodiversity
Project led to one Bermudian student receiving his MSC degree and a
second completing his PhD dissertation. Two other young Bermudian’s
receiving supervision from project staff continue to work on their graduate
theses. An additional 6 students participated in internships with the project
this year. Donated funds allowed two US graduates to gain valuable
experience working with the team whilst three Bermudians and one
Canadian received placements at BAMZ.
Scientific Publications arising from the work of the BBP and collaborators
resulted in 13 new BBP contributions this year, with an additional 8 in press
and 5 in review. Additionally 12 posters describing aspects of the work
being conducted locally were presented at 5 international symposia.
The BBP team has been working with the Department to provide
information on all aspects of Bermuda’s natural history in an engaging
interactive fashion through a new Conservation Services website. It is
envisioned that this will serve as:
a guide to Bermuda’s nature that will provide information on points of
interest, local species and habitats,
will provide students and teachers with local biological content for
lessons and projects,
and act as a citizen’s guide to conservation action, local
environmental legislation, and the Government’s environmental
Again this year the BBP sought to augment the funding provide by
Government raising $148,000 from various sources to virtually match the
$154,000 provided as a grant through the Department. To date the project
has raised just over $1 million from non-Government sources.
Also operating largely on overseas grant money is the Protected Species
Programme which has as its overall goals the production and publication
of Recovery Plans for Protected Species and the building of capacity for
implementation. Milestones achieved by this programme in the past year
Assessments of the status of all endemic species were conducted
leading to the first listing of Species under Protected Species Act
Preliminary assessments of the cost of implementation were
conducted and a budget was prepared for Year 2 of implementation
The successful negotiation with land-owners for declaration of 1 acre
of land as “Critical Habitat”
The completion of 17 Recovery Plans
The completion of multi-species hatchery at Coney Island, providing a
facility for recovery actions concerning protected marine species and
an educational facility for hands-on workshops
The progress of the Protected Species Programme was presented at
the UKOT Conservation Forum in Jersey, October 2006
A workshop was held focussing on the management of endangered
Plants with participants from government agencies, NGOs, and
selected members of the community. Experts from KEW Gardens
and the Millenium Seed Bank gave instruction to support initial
implementation of the plant recovery programme.
As stage one of the implementation of the plan to develop Cooper’s
Island into a major nature reserve and educational facility, work began
on the restoration and enhancement of a salt marsh. During the military
development of this site the salt marsh at Cooper’s Island was partly filled
with rubble to create flat land. Despite this insult, a small remnant salt
marsh persists representing one of the few vestiges of this threatened local
habitat. To date the site has been cleared of invasive species in
preparation for re-excavation of this marsh. Replanting of appropriate
native vegetation has begun in areas safe from the activities of excavators
and plans have been approved for making this marshland accessible to the
public by means of paths and a boardwalk.
Additional woodland management activities conducted in 2006/07
Approximately 0.5 acres near west car park of Spittal Pond NR
cleared of invasive species and replanted with 50 native/endemic
Removal of Casuarinas from 600' of rocky coastline west of Shelly
Bay beach and rocky coastal areas of Spittal Pond NR
Clearing of invasive plants and accumulated garbage from northwest
edge of Mangrove Lake and Judkin Lane and replanting with native
and endemic plants.
Clearing of invasive plants from 11.71 acres in Devonshire Marsh
Continuation of the Nonsuch Island woodland restoration projects
with the removal of invasive seedlings, removal of some of the
Island’s remaining large non-native trees and the topping of mature
Casuarinas which have been retained to date as a windbreak for
more newly establish native plantings
Involving groups of schoolchildren from the 4th Environmental Youth
Conference in the planting of native and endemic plants at Coopers
Culling out seedlings & regrowth of invasive plant species from a 6-
acre native reforestation site in the Walsingham Nature Reserve
area, one of Bermuda's most important sites for critically endangered
native/endemic plant species.
The promotion of conservation through the community is an ongoing
thrust of all sections of the Department. Again this year DCS staff and
associates joined the Bermuda National Trust in guiding their annual
Children’s Walk at Spittal Pond. Approximately 300 schoolchildren & adults
participated in this event.
Tours of Nonsuch Island is effective in sharing the vision of local
conservation. During the past year several groups have ha the opportunity
of visiting the Island and learning of the process of restoration that has
virtually recreated the pre-colonial flora and fauna of Bermuda in this living
museum. Particularly encouraging amongst these is the established
collaboration with the Bermuda Sloop Foundation which provides an
intense programme for local school student that includes a guided tour of
Further celebration of the unique work of restoring Nonsuch and the
endemic Cahow was provided by two excellent films; "Bermuda's
Treasure Island" and "Rare Bird" which have both won accolades from
local and international audiences and are available for sale as DVDs to the
Bermuda has a new species of bird that has taken up residence and is
thriving. Nesting surveys have confirmed a newly established breeding
population of Green Herons. Twenty four active nest sites were recorded
at 5 locations around Bermuda. To follow the success of locally-bred birds,
chicks from this year’s breeding were banded under the direction of well-
known heron expert Dr. Jim Kushlan.
Monitoring of the breeding success of the local Longtail population
continued in 2006/07 with 175 nest sites studied on 7 islands during the
period April to October. Development of the Longtail chicks was tracked
and these birds were marked with identification bands in order to study
their long-term success. Nearly 90 successfully fledged from these nest
sites 61 Longtail chicks and adults were banded bring the grand total of
birds banded over last 3 years to 267.
In this 3rd year of the Cahow Translocation Project 21 Cahow chicks
were moved to the new colony site on Nonsuch Island, of which 20
successfully fledged. This project aims to establish a breeding colony on
Nonsuch which is a larger and higher island where it will be less vulnerable
to extreme weather and sea-level rise. To date a total of 55 chicks have
successfully fledged from Nonsuch.
The 2006 Cahow nesting season was very successful with the number of
nesting pairs increasing to a record high of 76 (up from 18 pairs in 1962). A
total of 36 chicks successfully fledged out to sea. 2006 also marked the first
year that Cahows banded as chicks in 2002 and 2003 returned to the
nesting islands to find nest burrows and choose mates. This result reduced
the time that these birds are believed to be at sea before returning to nest
from estimates of up to 8 years to 3-4 years. By the end of the breeding
season a total of 11 returning chicks were recorded.
In recognition of the extreme value of seagrass meadows to fish production
and as the approximately 25% reduction in area covered by seagrasses
since 1997 arguably represents the single largest ecological change
observed in Bermuda’s nearshore waters in recent decades, a Seagrass
Monitoring Program to monitor the health of this critical habitat was
initiated in 2006.
Seagrass beds form highly productive habitats which support diverse
biological communities, are important in the cycling of nutrients, and
stabilize sediments in shallow marine areas. More specifically Bermuda’s
seagrass beds provide important habitat for locally important species,
including groupers, snappers, and lobsters along with protected species
such as juvenile green turtles, conch, and sea horses. Indeed the principal
local habitat-forming seagrass species, turtle grass, is now in significant
decline globally and has been listed for protection under the Protected
As we lack information to explain the decline in local seagrasses the
seagrass monitoring programme aims to document the health and spatial
coverage of local seagrass beds along with providing water quality data
including nutrients, temperature, and light penetration to seagrass beds
and adjacent environs. The project will also assess the ecological
implications of increased distance between beds and to other critical
habitats such as mangroves and coral reefs.
Preliminary work has involved sampling of bottom communities at almost
200 sites around the island to document distribution and incidence of
seagrasses and other communities. This work has revealed that:
the seagrass species Halophila decipiens, which was previously thought
to be rare in Bermuda is actually widely distributed
A new species of phoronid (horseshoe worm) has been recorded for
Two colonies of very old queen conch were discovered
Efforts to Control Kudzu have led to interesting discoveries this year. It
has now been confirmed that there are actually two species of closely
related vines that were being treated as one. Although we had reported that
“Kudzu” had been reported from 13 sites we now know that the real Kudzu
remains confined to a few sites and that the more abundant species is
Lablab. Neither of these species are truly new to Bermuda having been
introduced many years ago as ornamental and forage crops. It appears as
though lablab has been spread around the island in recent years with
movements of rubble. This is evidenced by the fact that most newly
identified sites have recently received loads of rubble. The potentially
invasive nature of this plant will continue to be publicized.
2006 ended as an average year for local agricultural production.
Though farmers considered this a fair year, many are still struggling to
overcome the massive debts incurred from Hurricane Fabian in 2003.
Though Bermuda had a relatively quiet 2006 hurricane season, the near
direct-hit by Hurricane Florence was felt by the farming community. The
hurricane force winds and salt spray had a devastating effect on local
crops. With the growing season just started, most field crops and seed
beds were virtually wiped out. Especially hard hit were carrots, broccoli,
beans, pumpkin, bananas and avocadoes.
As a result of the hurricane damage, crop production and harvests were
delayed 4-6 weeks later than normally expected. This in turn led to
delayed embargoes and shortages of local produce during the typically
busy Christmas period.
Fortunately, for most farmers structural damage to farm equipment and
buildings was minimal and therefore farmers were able to concentrate on
quickly replanting their fields. Currently, crop production is back on track
except for a continued shortage of carrots and bananas.
In addition to Hurricane Florence, farmers had other threats and challenges
to deal with in 2006.
Feral chickens continue to be a major problem to local farmers. Every
farmer in every parish has been affected by the damage done by feral
chickens. Damage is estimated to range between $50,000- $100,000 per
year. The chicken problem is nothing new. Reports of crop damage
caused by chickens have been reported for over 15 years. Farmers are not
the only ones affected by these pests. Home gardeners have seen their
small gardens destroyed while many residents are affected by the nuisance
factor of having their sleep interrupted by the crowing of roosters in the
early morning hours.
Pigeons and crows also continue to be a challenge for local growers.
Pigeons feed on newly seeded fields as well as eat large quantities of dairy
feed thereby disrupting the feeding schedule and milk production of dairy
cows. Crows are known to feed on local crops as well as be a nuisance by
simply pulling newly seeded plants out of the ground.
2006 also saw hikes in the price of fuel. Local farmers not only felt this at
the local pump but also in the increased price of imported fertilizer,
chemicals, boxes and seed thanks in-part to increased rates of inland
trucking, air and ocean freight.
Perhaps the single biggest threat to local agriculture is the continued loss
of good quality agricultural land. Each year, more and more farmers are
being evicted from their farm fields to make way for development or
conversion to amenity areas. If this trend continues there will be little
chance of preserving an agricultural industry for future generations.
In an attempt to raise the awareness of local agriculture, this Department
brought in Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening fame to show how
everyone could participate in growing their own vegetables. Square Foot
Gardening presentations and workshops were highlighted at the 2006
Annual Exhibition and at the Environmental Youth Conference. A follow-up
series of lectures and teaching workshops was held in December whereby
interested individuals became certified to teach Square Foot Gardening. A
number of school teachers participated in the scheme and it is hoped that
this will encourage schools throughout the island to participate in
competitions to have the best Square Foot Garden.
The Year Ahead 2006/2007
The bulk of the work at BAMZ will no doubt centre on the construction and
outfitting of the new Animal Care Pavilion and Madagascar Exhibit. It is
expected that the basic building will take approximately 9 months with the
exhibit development stretching beyond this into 2008. However, given the
location of the new building it is expected that this development will not
impact significantly on BAMZ visitors and educational programs.
Another exciting product arising from the capital campaign for the Aquarium
is the building of an Education Outreach Vessel to support and augment
the BAMZ/BZS educational offerings. This 45 foot catamaran will allow for
the development of programmes to provide local school children with first-
hand experiential learning exploring Bermuda’s reefs, coastal environments
and islands. It is anticipated that this vessel will be delivered in 2007/08.
A project to provide the first economic valuation of the services provided
by Bermuda’s natural resources is planned for 2007/08. Such valuations
have recently gained wide acceptance as important tools to inform
resource management decisions. With funding anticipated from the UK’s
OT Environmental Programme this project aims to provide a means of
recognizing the value of the range of ecosystem services provided by
Bermuda’s environment. In collaboration with environmental economists
from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee it is planned that
assessments of critical ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs, as
well as services provided by arable land and healthy inshore waters will be
In the coming year the Protected Species Programme will focus on:
Promoting awareness through the production and distribution of hard and
electronic copies of all recovery plans for listed species.
Initiating activities to support the Marine Species Recovery Programme
using the newly completed Coney Island Hatchery to propagate namely
seahorse and conch
Developing whale-watching guidelines and sharing these in printed and
electronic media to promote healthy interactions with these magnificent
Initiating full-scale implementation of the plant recovery programme as
developed in KEW Garden-facilitated workshop
Initiating prioritized emergency actions for other protected species, as
outlined in the recovery plans
Initiating a programme offering hands-on student workshops at the
Coney Island Hatchery to engage young Bermudians in conservation
and teach the basics of aquaculture techniques
During the coming year monitoring of the effectiveness of activities that
support the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) in order to report progress to
date and to celebrate the many successful projects of our local
conservation partners will continue and will be widely shared in print, local
media and on the web.
The promotion of co-ordinated action will be supported by a web-based
list serve which will be used to advertise conservation activities, collect
reports of work done and promote volunteer opportunities. Further
promotion is planned through an enhanced Department of Conservation
Services web-site which will provide access to habitat maps, databases
and articles of interest to the public, educators, students and researchers.
The BAP Steering Committee will continue to meet and identify
priority actions that require support and present the greatest opportunity to;
protect biodiversity, raise community interest, and engage key delivery
partners. As there are many groups and individuals throughout the
community that are collaborating to promote the objectives of the BAP, the
Steering Committee will also host a meeting of all key delivery partners to
celebrate successes, review priorities and chart the next phase of BAP.
To support community awareness the BAP team will work closely with
NGO’s and specialist in the field to provide an Environmental Conference
for the people of Bermuda. This conference will highlight environmental
organisations and opportunities in Bermuda.
The Bermuda Biodiversity Project aims to focus mainly on information
dissemination in the coming year. Key to this focus is the support of the
development of a new web-based communication strategy for the
Department. Project staff will concentrate on presentation of the results of
the work done to date. This approach will allow for a very large amount of
information to be made available to all interested parties. In order to make
this engaging the communication system will feature interactive, multi-
Another core activity for the coming year will be the publication and
ongoing implementation of the cave habitat recovery plan. As one of
several habitat recovery plans to be published in 2007, this project aims to
protect this critical habitat for approximately 25% of Bermuda’s known
endemic species. Activities to support this plan will include:
The identification and mapping of coastal cave-water springs, and the
characterization of flow rates and water quality of the effluent from
these springs and their impact on adjacent reef and seagrass
Mapping of cave systems in collaboration with expert divers from the
In conjunction with the mapping work, the ongoing provision of unique
learning opportunities for local school children and educators
The ongoing attempt to secure funding for a feature film and
interactive web-based educational programming based on Bermuda’s
unique cave systems.
Marine field research and conservation action will include:
Coral reef surveys across the Bermuda Platform will continue, with
focus on extending coverage out onto what scientists term “The Main
Terrace”, that area of deeper reefs to seaward of the breaker line.
Analysis of the information collected from these coral reef surveys to
identify biodiversity hotspots in the marine environment that
deserve priority attention from resource managers.
And postponed from 2006/07, is an initiative to restore the
population of Occulina in Harrington Sound. This branching coral
once formed a forest-like habitat in the mid-depths of Harrington
Sound where it provided habitat for juvenile fishes, molluscs and
other species. This habitat is believed to have been decimated by
mussel dredging activities in the 1970’s and 80’s and may have
contributed to the decline in the Harrington Sound water quality.
Continued work into the health and biodiversity of Bermuda’s pond
communities will include the completion of an initial pond survey report
and the extension of this work to include toxicological studies of the pond
vertebrates. Work on pond species of interest will include:
Expansion of Diamond-back terrapin population studies to investigate
the species’ ecological role, the identification of threats and/or
constraints to the species success, and genetics work to confirm the
native status of the Bermuda population.
Studies of the genetics of the endemic Killifish from various ponds.
These DNA studies will serve to determine whether the populations
from different locations have been genetically isolated long enough to
warrant being treated as sub-populations.
As in 2006/07, the Department will continue to conduct and support efforts
to control feral animals that pose a threat to local biodiversity, agriculture
or society in general. Work has continued to focus on demonstrated
problem species such as pigeons, chickens and crows. Whilst crows and
chickens remain extremely abundant, the population of pigeons has been
substantively reduced. Efforts to control the introduced Red-Eared Slider,
an introduced fresh-water turtle brought to the Island as pets and released
into local ponds, have been encouraging with over 500 culled to date. This
species is yet another representative of the world’s top 100 invasive
species that has made its way to Bermuda.
In the coming year activities to support the promotion of awareness of
Bermuda’s maritime heritage will include ongoing filming of Bermuda’s
Historic shipwrecks in Broadcast quality High Definition. Themes and
storyboards are being created, and further collaborations explored to
support the production of a feature length film documentary focussed on
The Bermuda shipwrecks website will be fully developed and interpret
the core aspects of the Historic Wrecks Management Programme including
an interactive Wrecks Map. This site will support the public outreach of
Historic Wrecks section and will be launched as part of a PR campaign
aimed at educating the public and highlighting the value of Bermuda’s
underwater maritime heritage while outlining the codes of practice for those
engaging with this valuable resource.
After several very slow years, there are indications that the coming year will
see several NGO’s and private individuals intend to apply for permission to
scientifically investigate Bermuda shipwrecks. This is very encouraging as
the oversight of such activities is a primary responsibility of the Custodian
outlined under the Historic Wrecks Act, and this may foretell a revival in
interest in local marine archaeology.
The location and mapping of unknown wrecks will be the primary focus
of the programme during the calmer summer month. Collaborative
ethnographic research over the past few years with some of Bermuda’s
most experienced seamen has lead to many insights that should make this
a very fruitful summer.
The assessment and classification of shipwrecks by the Historic Wrecks
Authority will continue this year with biographies and video diaries on local
wrecks brought forward for consideration. The Authority will also assist the
in the production of a working Policy document for the public and those
charged with the management and enforcement of the Historic Wrecks Act
a clear understanding of its consequences and implementation.
The Bermuda Mercury Project will publish a technical report based on a
comprehensive survey and analysis of mercury levels in Bermuda fish. The
results of this research will be also be presented in lay terms to provide
fish consumption advisories and make recommendations for those people
most at risk; pregnant and breastfeeding women.
CONSERVATION SERVICES APPENDIX 69.1
Estimated Agricultural Production 2003-2006
Produce 2003 2004 2005 2006
Vegetables $3,060,000 $4,095,000 $4,250,000 $4,547,500
Fruit $312,000 $291,000 $381,150 $333,000
Flowers $210,000 $262,500 $175,000 $192,500
Honey $77,000 $138,500 $225,000 $133,000
Total $3,659,000 $4,787,000 $5,031,150 $5,383,000
Vegetable production was up slightly from last year despite the
setback experienced from Hurricane Florence. Carrots, broccoli,
cauliflower, tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkin, corn, tomatoes and potatoes
continue to be the most important local crops.
Fruit production was down overall in 2006. Banana production was
very strong in the summer months resulting in a rare banana
embargo being imposed. Banana production fell dramatically in the
months following Hurricane Florence. Strawberry production was
very poor compared to the record season in 2005. The quality of the
plants and weather during the growing season were the main factors
affecting production. Avocado production virtually non-existent as
Hurricane Florence knocked most fruit of the trees.
Flowers production was up slightly over the previous year.
Honey production was significantly lower than in 2005 due to the
damage of nectar producing plants by Hurricane Florence.
Summary of Agricultural Workforce 2004 - 2006
Number of Participants 2004 2005 2006
In Vegetable Production (total) 105 114 120
Full-time farmers 23 25 25
Part-time farmers 28 32 38
Full-time labourers 37 38 38
Part-time labourers 10 11 9
Managerial/Support Staff 7 8 10
Number of operations 46 52 55
Registered Home Growers 9 17 19
Notes - An operation refers to an individual farm or farming business
- Registered home growers are not included in the total