Supporting a small island in protecting its oceans and fishing industry

By Cherie Dillon, IPNLF Project Manager St Helena

St Helena Island celebrated Marine Awareness Week at Anne’s Place in Jamestown in March 2021. I represented the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF), as their Project Manager for the island. During the week, I worked with stakeholders to educate the next generation of St Helena Ocean Heroes!

Marine Awareness Week has been celebrated in St Helena ever since 2003 and focuses on a different theme each year. This year’s theme was ‘The Blue Belt programme’, one of several partners supporting St Helena in achieving the  aim of protecting and sustainably managing its ocean resources. 

The event was organised by the Government of St Helena’s Environment, Natural Resources and Planning Directorate and introduced by Elizabeth Clingham, the manager of Blue Belt , who gave an overview of the UK Government funded programme.


The day

Visitors to the IPNLF stand were able to discover all about one-by-one fisheries and the importance of this fishing method in ensuring the sustainability of our fish stocks, and minimising environmental harm such as bycatch, and other marine damage caused by nets.

Visitors were also able to show off their tuna knowledge by completing our word search, those taking the opportunity to complete IPNLF Know your tuna-quiz had a definite advantage when it came to completing the word search.

I was encouraged that we had some great entries for our visioning exercise, and a special mention goes to Lily Hercules of Harford Primary School, whose vision board demonstrated a strong mastery of the competition brief.

I was also very pleased to be invited to speak to St Paul’s Primary class 2B, who weren’t able to visit IPNLF during Marine Awareness Week. It was great to be able to participate in class 2Bs learning and enjoy their enthusiasm for the topics.

School children visit the IPNLF stall


Visiting school groups were given a tour of the information stands by members of the SHG marine team and given the opportunity to participate in various activities. A typical tour started with Rhys Hobbs, SHG Marine and Fisheries Conservation Officer talking about conservation efforts and the need to preserve our marine environment, so it’s healthy when we visit the sea in future.

Leeann Henry, Senior Marine and Fisheries Conservation Assistant led a very engaging talk on the marine life of St Helena, and some of the other British Overseas Territories. Our tiniest visitors had a great time discussing and visualising various marine animals and considering questions such as: how many people does it take to equal the length of a humpback whale? – Quite a few as it turns out!

School children visualise marine animals

Evening activities

Marine Awareness Week also included evening activities including a presentation evening, a film night and a quiz organised by the St Helena Nature Conservation Group. The quiz which attracted five teams proved to be both educational and fun, testing the powers of observation of participants, as many of the quiz answers were available on the display stands. 

The quiz offered excellent opportunities to win a prize, as there were prizes for each of the rounds. The winners of the IPNLF round and the grand prize of a trip on SV Nomadica were the consistently high scoring ‘Wahoo, we’re having a whale of a time’-team. Congratulations!

The winning team ‘Wahoo, we’re having a whale of a time!’ holding their quiz prizes

Marine Awareness Week was an excellent example of the positive impact of stakeholder collaboration and co-operation and I was proud to represent IPNLF and highlight the importance of traditional and sustainable fishing methods to our community.