Economic Development Committee Meeting – Thursday, 23 January & Thursday, 30 January 2020

  • Two meetings of the Economic Development Committee take place on 23 and 30 January  
  • Increased level of interest generated by local businesses and social enterprises following ESH Grants Policy review
  • Committee approves Fishing policies in principle, subject to amendments, to allow the revision of fisheries legislation to be continued

Thursday, 23 January

The Environment Natural Resources and Planning Directorate’s (ENR&P) Agronomist provided an overview of the work he has been undertaking as part of the agronomy services provided by the Directorate to the Island’s agricultural producers. The key areas where support has been provided to producers have included the following:

  • Improved soil management and productivity: Providing advice on pH, soil compaction, improving use of organic matter and soil analysis
  • Improved crop management and productivity: Providing advice on use of mechanisation, use of fertilisers, use of personal pest control programmes and pesticide products, and new practices and crops through establishment of a demonstration plot at the Ex-Airport Development Area Fields
  • Farmer/Producer visits: Providing advice and discussion with producers at their farm and production locations
  • Specific training sessions:  Delivering training sessions on growing healthy potatoes and integrated pest management in polytunnels.  A short training exercise in managing a farming business is also being planned in the next few months in support of improving agricultural business and it is hoped that as many agricultural producers as possible will attend.

Enterprise Saint Helena presented their Progress and Performance Report for December 2019, inclusive of brief updates, and the Director of Tourism also gave Members an overview of activities over the past quarter. Particular mention was made regarding the increased level of interest being generated by local businesses and social enterprises following the ESH Grants Policy review, and also the interest being generated following the launch of the Investment Prospectus. It was noted that a total of three applications had been recommended for approved investor status to date, two of which were local interests. On the Tourism front, it was noted that a number of visitors, in particular Saints who were visiting family and friends, had picked up significantly from November through to January. The Tourist Office was hosting a visit from Green Flag, who are assessing the Island’s walks for international accreditation, and also Dan Snow, a popular UK TV presenter whose focus is on history and historical events. Subject to contract award, further work to pavements in Main Street should be progressing shortly, namely the area in front of the Canister. It was also noted that David Thompson OBE, the International Co-ordinator for the Napoleonic Bi-centenary, would be visiting the Island to engage with local stakeholders.

Thursday, 30January

A Fisheries Management Policy Statement and Licencing of Fishing Policy forming part of a new fisheries management framework was brought back to the Committee by the ENR&P Directorate for their approval after a period of public and targeted consultation with stakeholders. Members were provided with an overview of the policy process undertaken thus far for the new framework and the consultation exercise.

The detail of changes that were made to the policies as a result of the consultation exercise was discussed and a lengthy debate followed on various aspects of the Licencing of Fishing Policy.  Members requested further information be provided with regards to evidence of how fish catch and related restrictions were arrived at before they could approve the Catch Restrictions Table accompanying the Licencing of Fishing Policy.  However, the Committee was able to approve the policies in principle, subject to amendments, to allow the revision of fisheries legislation to be continued, noting the policies will be brought back to the Committee to consider any refinements made to them after the drafting of the fisheries legislation. The Catch Restrictions element of the fisheries framework will be brought back at a later meeting for it to be considered for approval once evidence has been provided.

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6 February 2020

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470