Julie brings a wealth of experience from a range of diverse roles including administration, education, communications, sales, customer services, business services, commercial banking, founder member, chairperson and presenter of the island’s community radio station and most recently a private sector business owner.
In addition, Julie has been involved in the existing commercial fishing industry on St Helena Island for over 10 years. Her exposure to the fishery includes practical and theoretical knowledge as she is an executive committee member of the St Helena Commercial Fisherman’s Association (SHCFA) and also represents the fishermen and the industry as a member of the St Helena Fisheries Corporation (SHFC) Board. The SHCFA objectives are to promote, represent and protect the collective interests of its members, by providing input into Government Legislation, circulating commercial information relevant to the Association’s interest, promoting sustainable fishing within the local fishing industry and opposing fishing ventures that could affect the balance and wellbeing of the industry. It is also responsible for encouraging and supporting the economic, professional and social interests of its members. The objective of the SHFC is to engage on a commercial basis in the business of fishing and fish marketing in St Helena and internationally. The Corporation is governed by a Board of Management, who exercises the functions and powers of the Corporation and subject to directions given by the Government, determines the policy and direct and control the officers of the business.
The St Helena tuna fishery has traditionally been a pole-and-line fishery in both the inshore and offshore waters; however with the island appearing on the international arena by the end of this year, with the opening of its airport, the island is undergoing monumental change, in preparation for the international interest the airport is expected to bring. The sustainable development plan for the island identifies three national goals, two of which are particularly relevant to the fisheries sector:
1. That St Helena has a vibrant economy providing opportunities for all to participate
2. That St Helena’s environment is effectively managed
As Project Manager, Julie will use her knowledge and experience to support the St Helena's tuna fishing industry to develop and expand, whilst ensuring that the island’s maritime zone is sustainably managed for future generations.
This opportunity will enable me to be a part of the development and enhancement of our one-by-one fishery, of which we are extremely proud. It will also open the door to networking and marketing opportunities, which is vital in providing us with the necessary skills and expertise to document, protect and promote our island’s marine sector, with a view of exploring new and improved markets for our product so that our fishery can become lucrative but remain sustainable.Julie Thomas (Project Manager, St Helena)