6 April 2022
The Environment, Natural Resources & Planning Portfolio (ENRP) will be holding a consultation on issues and options for change to licensing of recreational fishing on St Helena.
Currently, the main methods of fishing for lobster on St Helena are:
- Potting (metal/plastic pots lowered to the seafloor by ropes left to soak, generally overnight and hauled the next day)
- Spearfishing (lance) and hand line from shoreline or a boat.
Hand catching occurs but is known to fisheries and marine authorities to only be undertaken on a limited basis.
Recently, reports have been made that snares (lasso/noose) have been used for lobster harvesting.
Both the methods of capturing by hand and snare (lasso/noose) have caused concern within the local community. Local marine operators have raised their concerns about these methods of lobster harvesting by visiting recreational fishermen to understand the current and future impacts on lobster populations at popular dive sites.
Local marine operators have also raised the issue of the length of time that vessels are and could potentially be visiting or are moored at St Helena in future and the amount of ground fish that could be caught by these vessels during their stay, impacting both the annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of ground fish species available for recreational fishing and potential fish sales that could be made by local fish businesses from visitors.
Currently, recreational fishing licences are available to visiting yachts and pleasure vessels. The fishing licence gives these vessels the same fishing rights as a local fishing vessel which allows them to fish for their personal use but the catch is not exchanged, sold or used in commercial entities.
In considering whether a change is required to the methods of catching lobster through recreational fishing, or whether a change is required to recreational fishing licensing for visiting vessels, to mitigate the impacts that have been identified, ENRP is undertaking a period of consultation on recreational fishing.
ENRP is interested in your views on the issues and options that are part of this consultation. A meeting will be held with ENRP fisheries and marine staff to discuss the consultation issues and possible options for a change to recreational fishing licencing and monitoring at the Museum, Jamestown, at 7pm on Monday, 11 April 2022.
A drop-in session to discuss the consultation issues and options with ENRP fisheries and marine staff will also be held on Wednesday, 13 April 2022, from 4.30pm to 6pm at the Half Tree Hollow Community Centre.
Interested persons are invited to attend the meeting or drop-in session to provide their feedback. You can also provide feedback in writing to ENRP via: firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for comments is Tuesday, 19 April 2022.
Copies of the consultation brief are available from the Receptions at Scotland and Essex House.
6 April 2022