Economic Development Committee Meeting Summaries – Thursday, 24 June, Monday, 12 July, & Monday, 26 July

The following summarises the meetings of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) held over the last two months:

Thursday, 24 June 2021

The Senior Economist presented information about the impacts of changes to the Sugar Tax since the financial year 2017/18. This expanded on a presentation provided for the Committee by the Health Promotion Lead in September 2020. Overall, the tax changes appear to have had the intended impact – there have been increases in imports of no-sugar and low-sugar beverages and decreases in imports of high-sugar beverages. These changes have not had a negative impact to overall revenue collected.

Monday, 12July 2021

Protection of Animals (Amendment) Bill, 2021

A Bill to amend the Protection of Animals Ordinance, 1969 was presented for discussion and approval. The purpose of the Bill was to reform the law in respect of the protection of animals and the statutory authority which may be exercised in respect of the humane protection of animals. Except for minor amendments made in 1972 and 2001, this Ordinance was considered by St Helena’s Veterinary Authority to be out of date and in need of thorough revision, as some practices allowed under the Ordinance were no longer considered humane, such as ages for castration without anaesthetic and other activities which affect animals’ welfare, which are completely absent from the Ordinance, including animals fit to travel. Furthermore, it focused mainly on acts of cruelty and omitted certain acts of neglect, which can cause significant suffering in their own right. After suggested minor amendments, EDC recommended the Bill be progressed to Executive Council

Fisheries Bill 2021

A Fisheries Bill was presented for discussion and approval. Fisheries management and fishing licensing policy used to inform the development of the Bill was adopted by the Economic Development Committee in January 2020. The Bill sought to replace the St Helena Fishery Limits Ordinance, 1977 rather than simply making changes to it as originally envisaged in 2017. The purpose of the Bill was to provide a framework for modern regulation of fishing and related activities within St Helena’s fisheries limits. Comments from targeted consultations with fisheries stakeholders, together with management responses and how such comments had been used to revise the Bill, were also presented to EDC.

After a lengthy discussion on the Bill, where minor changes were suggested, EDC recommended the Bill be progressed to Executive Council.  

Monday, 26 July 2021

The Environment, Natural Resources & Planning Portfolio (ENRPP) brought a paper to Committee to agree wording for two amendments to be made to the 2020 Fishing Licencing Policy. As a result of the development and endorsement of the new Fisheries Bill by EDC and Executive Council earlier this month, amendment to the Policy was required to include the prohibition of transhipment of fish caught at sea in St Helena waters.  St Helena’s fishing zone falls within the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Convention Area and ICCAT’s Transhipment recommendation of June 2017 prohibits all at-sea transhipments of tuna and tuna-like species and other species caught in association with these species.

Amendment was also made for the inclusion of a research fishing licence that may be issued for research, scientific or educational purposes for those fish species that are not listed as protected species in Schedule 2 to the Environmental Protection Ordinance 2016. This amendment allows that a research licence may be issued for any fish species, whether it is protected species or not, where it is appropriate to issue such a licence.

Both amendments were approved by EDC subject to a minor change to wording of one of the amendments.

ENRPP also made a request to the Committee to declare Rupert’s quarantine facility as a Quarantine Area for the period 16August 2021 to 3 September 2021 inclusive, in order to quarantine a dog arriving from the UK via the MV Helena on 16August 2021. The purpose of the quarantine is a precautionary measure requested by the Health Services Directorate in respect of the passive transmission of COVID-19. EDC requested further information from the Health Services Directorate on this matter before a decision could be taken on the request for quarantine.

The Committee was also provided with an overview by ENRPP of the capital funding bid made to the Economic Development & Investment Programme for upgrade of the St Helena Government (SHG) agriculture estate over the next two years.

The Head of Sustainable Development introduced SHG’s Head of Visitor Information Services (HoVIS), Matthew Joshua, and Marketing Manager, Emma Weaver, who provided an update on the efforts both for the tourism industry and the Island’s wider marketing plans.

Matthew gave an overview of the work to date, including that the Tourist Office had re-opened following its handover from Enterprise St Helena (ESH), and that he had been working to establish plans for future tourist arrivals in collaboration with local and international tour and hospitality providers, amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emma updated the Committee on marketing activities taking place beyond tourism, including that the Sustainable Development Team has taken over the relationship with international PR companies, and that a new branding exercise has been launched, aimed at incorporating community members’ views of the Island’s identity in order to inform all marketing efforts going forward.

#StHelena #EDC #AltogetherWealthier

SHG

12 August 2021

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470
Email: kimberley.peters@sainthelena.gov.sh