5 March 2021
At their meeting on Tuesday, 2 March 2021, Executive Council gave approval to take forward the signing of a 10 year Lease between St Helena Government (SHG) and Saints Tuna Corporation Limited (STC) to lease the Fish Processing Factory located at Rupert’s, and to enter into an Agreement to help govern the relationship with the parties (together with the locally registered investors PQ Trading (STH) Limited (PQTSH)).
STC is a recently established St Helena registered company which includes eight local commercial fishermen as shareholders, together with PQTSH. STC will undertake commercial fishing, processing, marketing and supply chain activities with the prime objective of establishing a sustainable and environmentally friendly fishing industry that makes a significant contribution to the local economy, by producing high quality products for sale to the local market and for export.
PQTSH is also a St Helena registered company, incorporated in December 2019, whose shareholders, Mr Johan Bezuidenhout and Mr Johan-Marais Bezuidenhout – a Cape Town based father and son team with long experience in related industries and markets – are also shareholders in STC. PQTSH is a fishing company that plans to operate two locally registered ships that will specialise in fishing the offshore ‘sea mounts’ within the St Helena Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
STC supports the concept, strategy and plans pursued by the Blue Belt Programme, specifically its attentions and involvement in the St Helena Marine and Ecological environments, as well as the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) initiatives. STC will fish using one-by-one fishing methods, will promote effective use of the commercial fishery and plans to create an operation that will directly benefit and provide opportunities for local commercial fishermen. STC plans to develop sustainable offshore fishing at the sea mounts, including exploratory fishing at Cardno, in order to develop a profitable enterprise so that fish processing will no longer require an annual government subsidy to operate.
Under the Agreement with SHG, STC will focus strongly on the protection of juvenile fish and bait fish species resources around the Island and the various offshore seamounts. STC commits to contributing to SHG’s Fisheries Science Programme and will work with SHG’s Marine Section to continually improve science and experience to inform sustainable catch limits for our tuna fisheries. STC also commits to purchasing fish from all commercial fishermen and will ensure the supply of ice for the same.
SHG has agreed to invest up to £500,000 to upgrade the Fish Processing Factory to a standard acceptable for the export of fish and fish products, including the purchase of assets to lease to the Company. As a part of this upgrade, STC will also replace the R22 gas with a refrigerant that is more environmentally friendly.
The planned-for effect of this exciting new arrangement is that – after the refurbishment works are completed – SHG will no longer provide subsidy to the fishing sector as it has done for a significant number of years. It will also mean that SHG will no longer need to spend £20,000 per month operating the processing facility. The profitable exportation of fish will serve to improve St Helena’s economy by bringing in new money to the Island. Furthermore, by conducting a science programme alongside fishing at the sea mounts, SHG can get a more comprehensive sense of the availability and replenishment of tuna fish stocks in our waters.
#StHelena #FishingSector #STC #PQTSH
5 March 2021