Mapping St Helena's marine biodiversity to create a Marine Management Plan

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment National
Country or countries covered Saint Helena
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

  • To collate existing marine biological data including maps and literature for all marine species including dolphins and whales.
  • To collate information regarding commercial use resources e.g. fishing and aggregation extraction. Data Management system will be created using marine recorder.
  • To collect marine benthic data including, marine fauna, flora and habitats.
  • To generate GIS maps of the distribution and extent of both St Helena shallow marine resource and commercial usage of these resources.
  • To produce a list of species and habitats of high conservation importance e.g. endemics and those naturally rare. GIS Maps to be produced to demonstrate extent and distribution of above.
  • To draft a monitoring and management plans (using above outputs as a basis) including the identification of current and potential future threats.
  • To identify potential marine protected areas

Mandate for the assessment

The project was funded by the Darwin initiative of DEFRA and implemented by the Environmental Management Directorate, an arm of St Helena’s Government and Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). This project will build capacity for local personnel to implement marine monitoring and management strategies resulting in the protection and sustainable use of their marine resources in the long-term and to raise local and international awareness of St. Helena's unique marine life.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

System(s) assessed

  • Marine
  • Coastal

Species groups assessed

Marine invertebrates, Fish, Marine mammals

Ecosystem services/functions assessed


  • Sand extraction
  • Commerical use of fish stocks


Supporting Services/Functions

Cultural Services

  • Recreation and tourism
  • Wild species diversity

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished

If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish


Periodicity of assessment

One off

Assessment outputs


Darwin project reports (end year one) and final project report (due at end of project)

Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Presentations given to the public including Marine Awareness Week involving all school children on island. Radio interviews and regular newspaper articles on marine issues and project updates. Marine life guidebook to be produced for end of project.

Journal publications

Scientific journal articles to be produced including new records (and possibly new species) identified. Paper to be produced on marine habitats around St Helena.

Training materials

Identification guides to marine life to be produced. Training guides for equipment, methodologies, software, GIS given to local St Helena staff.

Other documents/outputs

Marine Management Plan and Policy Papers

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Geospatial analysis

Stakeholder engagement forums. GIS mapping of habitats, species and marine uses. Spatial analysis of species abundance and habitats. Policy papers and Marine Management Plan produced.

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Meetings with individual stakeholder groups plus Marine Management Plan workshop to be held (at end of project).

Key stakeholder groups engaged

  • Dive tourism and dolphin watching tour operators
  • Fisheries association
  • Government departments (Environment and Fisheries)
  • Sand extraction company

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process


Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only
  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)
  • Traditional/local knowledge

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

  • Marine survey methodology used globally and specifically in the Falklands Islands and Ascension Island marine surveys.
  • International taxonomists and experts involved in the project for species identification and advice on analysis and management policies implemented elsewhere.

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

Data will be published in scientific journals and hence publicly available. Other information held by St Helena Government and reports published on their website.

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

Policy Papers and a Marine Management Plan will be produced at the end of the project and will have large impact on any decisions made regarding use and protection of the St Helena marine environment.

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Access to funding, Communication and awareness raising

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

  • Meetings will be held with the different stakeholders throughout the duration of the project.
  • Stakeholders have been involved in assisting with the marine surveys.
  • Stakeholders participated in the Environment Management Division Stakeholder forum.

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Additional relevant information