St Helena Represented at Blue Belt Symposium 2024

A delegation returned to St Helena having travelled to the UK to represent St Helena at the Blue Belt Symposium 2024 held in London. The symposium took place from 26 February to 28 February 2024 and brought together programme partners and delegates from a variety of the UK Overseas Territories (OTs).

Marine and Fisheries Conservation Officer Kirsty Jones, Marine Enforcement Officer Kelly Jonas, and Blue Belt Regional Coordinator Elizabeth Clingham travelled to the UK to attend and present at the symposium.

The theme for this year was ‘The Blue Belt Journey: Celebrating the Past, Charting the Future’. The main goal for the symposium was to connect UK Overseas Territories and partners to acknowledge, celebrate, share and strengthen how we protect and enhance ocean health globally.

St Helena was part of the first group of OTs to be members of the Blue Belt and featured strongly in discussions throughout the symposium.

Elizabeth Clingham led a presentation on the topic ‘Highlighting and celebrating key Blue Belt programme outcomes to date on St Helena’. Her presentation included a short introduction to St Helena and the journey and evolvement of marine science within the territory. This crucial work has provided the evidence base necessary for measures underpinning the management policy, legislation and enforcement. Key highlights included:

  • Fisheries science
  • Marine tourism
  • Marine Enforcement as a new dedicated function of SHG
  • Local improved infrastructure and human capacity building

On the second day, Kirsty Jones delivered a presentation on the social, cultural and economic impacts and values of St Helena’s Marine Protected Area (MPA). This showcased how a healthy marine environment adds to the quality of life and pride of the local community. The presentation used snippets from videos taken during the 2023 Marine Awareness Week presentation talks and videos that were released to mark the recent Hope Spot designation and recognition. This meant that the voice of the local community and key marine users was brought to the international ensemble of attendees.

Elizabeth Clingham also facilitated networking sessions where OTs and invited guests discussed ideas on options for better cross-OT networking and sustainable financing of MPAs. 

In addition, data and examples of work undertaken in St Helena was presented by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (CEFAS), Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Plymouth University.

The delegation also attended a number of presentations and technical discussions covering a range of topics.

Elizabeth Clingham commented on the symposium:

“The symposium was a wonderful opportunity for St Helena to reflect and see how far the island has come in doing what is necessary for local ocean protection, to acknowledge our contribution and recognise our global impact. The symposium facilitated rare face to face interaction between OT counterparts. These will help to ensure the islands can support each other based on each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

“It was a comprehensive three days, with approximately 60 presentations running concurrently, and between Kirsty, Kelly and myself we managed to participate in them all. There was also networking events in the evenings held at Fishmongers Hall and a Parliamentary event held at King Charles Street. The Foreign Secretary, the Right Honourable Lord David Cameron, addressed the OT audience and expressed his pleasure at the success of the programme and the work achieved by OTs.”

After the symposium, Elizabeth participated in the Global Oceans Wildlife Analysis Network and has now been appointed as the chair of the network. This position will play an important supporting role to all OTs.

More information on the network can be found online via

Kelly Jonas, commenting on her experience, said:

“This symposium was a brilliant experience that gave myself and my colleagues many opportunities to help enhance our knowledge and skills, which we are proud to be bringing back to St Helena. One of the highlights of this trip for me was having the opportunity to meet with Blue Belt colleagues face to face. I have had the pleasure of working with these colleagues closely over the past three years, many of which have helped us build local capacity and skills. This will now help me to build a better working relationship with them.”

“I also had the opportunity to attend talks around marine enforcement and network with other OT colleagues. This meant I could share what St Helena’s Marine Enforcement Section are currently doing and hear about what they are doing to protect their marine environment. Having the chance to hear about the tools and methods that other territories are using will be of benefit as we plan and improve our own marine enforcement. Thank you to the Blue Belt Programme for providing us with this amazing opportunity!”


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Telephone: 22470