A 200 nautical mile maritime zone in the sea around St Helena has been designated a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The MPA and subsequent Marine Management Plan for this area were agreed by Executive Council under the St Helena Environmental Protection Ordinance, 2016. It is a significant step forward for the Island in meeting both local and international commitments, and protecting local maritime interests.
The Marine Management Plan (MMP) relates to the designated Marine Protected Area and identifies the existing and potential pressures in St Helena’s waters, which includes pollution, fishing, biosecurity, tourism and construction. The MMP specifies management strategies which ensure our natural marine resources are used sustainably.
Governor Lisa Phillips said:
“This is an exciting milestone in St Helena’s history, though it also recognises how hard St Helenians work to protect their marine environment already. The Island has always been protected both through its isolation and geography. This plan was developed primarily to ensure the continued sustainable use of the marine environment as it has been for centuries. It further ensures that any future potential developments continue to support generations to come, Island culture, and allow enterprise to develop.”
Under this protection, St Helena is striving to achieve an International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Category VI status – a protected area with sustainable use of natural resources. Category VI protected areas conserve ecosystems and habitats, together with associated cultural values and traditional natural resource management systems.
Marine Conservation Officer, Elizabeth Clingham, added:
“A lot of work has been done over the last four years to support the full purpose of this designation. Various environmental schemes and legislation have been developed already which provides evidence of our efforts to ensure sustainability. The Marine Management Plan is a commitment that further legislative or other initiatives will be developed in our efforts to ensure that St Helena lives up to this significant responsibility.”
Further publicity on St Helena’s Marine Protected Area and Marine Management Plan will be issued over the coming weeks.
15 September 2016