St Helena fishing industry to close within weeks – no more fish on St Helena.
The St Helena Fisheries Corporation (SHFC) has been financially struggling since it took over the management of the fish processing factory in November 2015. Subsidy requirements have been escalating over the years and the requirement for 2019 reached £350k. Sadly, it has taken four years for SHG to recognise that the most effective way to curtail the crippling losses is to address the issues causing these rising costs. A freezer downsizing initiative identified in the initial months of takeover was put forward as a mitigation measure, was only commissioned this year and to date is still not operational.
Over the past few months since October 2019 however, SHG have been relentless in demonstrating their desire to rid themselves of this loss making venture, with little to no consideration given to how this will impact businesses and/or individuals deriving their income from the fishing sector. Just as importantly, very little thought has been given on how these rash decisions could impact the community in general.
Thus far, SHG has provided information to the public via press statements only, which have painted the picture from their perspective only, providing very little detail on why or how we find ourselves in this position.
On Thursday, 19th December after releasing numerous press statements in response to the SHG Press Releases representatives from the St Helena Commercial Fishermen’s Association (SHCFA) in collaboration with a staff representative from the SHFC conducted a ‘live’ discussion/interview on Saint FM. This poignant interview highlighted the anxiety this process has created, simply because Executive Council/SHG remains resolute in their decision to close the SHFC in its current form by the 31st January 2020, placing pressure on the SHCFA to submit a robust, logical and realistic proposal by the 17th January; equating to a mere month of planning compared to their four years.