St Helena Government was keen to develop a better understanding of its marine resources to help it manage its EEZ sustainably and ensure that any fishing activity is regulated and licensed in an appropriate way. Work undertake included:
(i) assessing existing information on St Helena’s marine fisheries (including from previous and current fishing and other activity) and identifying gaps in knowledge;
(ii) developing the terms of reference for an exploratory fishery including scoping a Data Collection Plan for the fishery setting out how best to fill the gaps in knowledge identified in (i), incorporating:
- a description of the catch, effort, and related biological, ecological and environmental data required to undertake the evaluations described above;
- a plan for directing fishing effort to permit the acquisition of relevant data to evaluate the fishery potential and the ecological relationships among harvested, dependent and related populations and the likelihood of adverse impacts;
- an evaluation of the responses of harvested, dependent and related populations to fishing activities, and the likely time-scales involved;
(iii) providing a report including an analysis and evaluation of the exploratory fishing activity once undertaken, including:
1. The distribution, abundance and demography of key commercial species, leading to an estimate of the fishery’s potential yield and catch estimates (incl. commercial viability);
2. the potential impacts of extracting the target species on dependent and related species and the broader ecosystem and any impacts on the benthos and/or by-catch (incl. birds/turtles);
3. The appropriate fishing gear, appropriate fishing areas and seasons.
4. An assessment of the need for further data collection requirements;
5. Recommendations on the potential for sustainable commercial fishery of specified species and what licence conditions to be applied (location/time/gear type etc.).