‘Threats’ blamed as family quits island (amended text)

(This story has been amended in the light of emerging information that suggests that the unspecified threats against Mark Brumbill may well not relate to his work with the fishing industry)

The expert brought in to build up St Helena’s fishery has left the island abruptly after allegedly receiving “serious personal threats”, including to his family.

Mark Brumbill’s departure was made public the day after he and his family sailed on the RMS St Helena on Sunday 7 July, bound for Cape Town.

St Helena Online is awaiting confirmation of another matter that is thought to put a different complexion on the issue.

The threats were referred to in a brief statement from the island’s head of economic development, Julian Morris.

He made no direct reference to recent anger over a South African company, Global Fish, being given a temporary licence to fish St Helena waters.

Nor has there been any suggestion that the alleged threats even relate to Mr Brumbill’s work on behalf of the fishing industry.

The Enterprise St Helena chief said: “Mark had completed his initial appraisal and report on the St Helena Fishery, which sets out the many opportunities available to the island.

“I regret Mark’s departure, which is a loss to the island, although I fully understand his decision to leave.

“After considering a number of factors, including unfair and unwarranted comments from a few individuals, including some very serious personal threats to him and his family, Mark concluded that it would be extremely difficult for him to remain here to help Saints develop a prosperous and sustainable fishing industry.

“I am grateful to Mark and his family, who made a significant commitment by leaving their home in Brazil to come here and share Mark’s skills and experience with those who want to see growth in St Helena’s fishing sector.

“Mark identified great potential for St Helena’s fishery, provided that it can adapt to change, involving various fishing techniques and different approaches to business organisation – all matters on which he was well qualified to advise.

“Looking ahead, we will build on his work by supporting a number of local fishing initiatives.”

Julian Morris’s comments are understood to have caused anger in some circles, with conflicting accounts of events circulating on the island.

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