South Atlantic Overseas Territories Regional Workshop

20 June 2014


Participants of the South Atlantic Overseas Territories Workshop on Ascension © Nicola Weber

This week on Ascension Island experts from across the UK Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic attended a regional workshop which was co-hosted by the Ascension Island Government and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The workshop brought  together delegates from the region  to share all aspects of conservation expertise and experience, exploring opportunities for co-operation in  sustainable fisheries, Marine Protected Areas, biodiversity action planning, and seabird monitoring.


Fisheries managers from the Falklands, South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha presented case studies on sustainable fishing practices, highlighted lessons learnt and discussed best practice in the areas of enforcement, licensing and fisheries science.


These were followed by a range of presentations and discussions where real opportunities to share expertise, equipment, and skills were explored.


The thirty workshop participants included Ascension Island Councillors, the Ascension Island Administrator, Directors of Fisheries from South Georgia, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, fisheries experts from the Falklands, St. Helena, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and JNCC.


“Ascension is keen to develop a sustainable fishery, and hosting this workshop has provided an excellent opportunity for regional and international technical expertise and experience to be fed into the process of its establishment” said Councillor Caroline Yon, Chair of Biodiversity and Fisheries Committee


Ascension Island’s Administrator, Colin Wells commented: ‘I am delighted JNCC gave Ascension the opportunity to host this important workshop. It is important that the five South Atlantic Overseas Territories work together, in line with the ambitions of the UK Government’s 2012 White Paper and this was a classic example of where bringing together experts will build synergy and expertise that will benefit all territories. That includes Ascension as it starts to develop a new fisheries management model.” 


James Glass, the Director of Fisheries on Tristan da Cunha who had been travelling since the end of May to attend the workshop, presented an overview of the fishery on Tristan and highlighted "this is the first ever regional workshop that has focussed on fisheries and the marine environment. It is a wonderful opportunity to share information, expertise and ideas with fellow islanders from the South Atlantic."