Two members of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's Blue Belt Programme team, Joanna Stockill and Katie McPherson, from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) arrived at St Helena on Saturday, 5 May 2018, to provide support in marine management, compliance and enforcement.
The Blue Belt Programme has been providing funding and expertise to support the long-term protection of over four million square kilometres of marine environment across seven UK Overseas Territories. The programme will provide support in improving the scientific understanding of the marine area, develop management strategies, advise on compliance and enforcement issues and help to develop Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
While on-Island, the team is:
Working with the Marine Division of the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate (ENRD) to support on the implementation of the Marine Management Plan and the Marine Accreditation Scheme
Undertaking a marine emergency response review on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to determine what capability and assets are required to manage marine pollution incidents
Advising on licensing of activities such as marine tourism, sand extraction and waste water discharge into the marine area
Working with the relevant teams to understand the legislative process for MPA management and compliance and enforcement challenges
Carry out training on intelligence, notebook management and evidence gathering to support compliance and enforcement in the MPA
Look at the challenges of managing fisheries, especially IUU (illegal, unlicensed and unregulated) fishing and put in place protocols to make sure that illegal activity is recognised and responded to
The team has met with the ENRD Marine team, the Agriculture & Natural Resources Division team, St Helena Government officials, the Attorney General and legal team, Marine Tourism Operators and Director of Tourism, Blue Marine Foundation, Connect Saint Helena Ltd, the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPLNF) Representative, Harbour Master, Sea Rescue team and the Police and Immigration teams.
Head of Integrated Marine Management, Joanna Stockill, commented:
Coming to St Helena has been an amazing experience and we feel privileged to be here. St Helena is surrounded by unique waters and it's great to be able to continue to support the great work that is already going on to develop a well-managed Marine Protected Area.
Head of Compliance and Enforcement, Katie McPherson, concluded:
We are really enjoying our time on St Helena. It is a beautiful Island and we have been made to feel really welcome. We would like to thank all the people who have taken the time to meet us while we have been here. We really appreciate it!
Joanna and Katie will leave the Island on Saturday, 19 May 2018.
Source: St Helena Government