St Helena Online

Tag: Adam Wolfe

Vision ‘puts swimmers next to sewage’, says Adam


Detail from the Jamestown Vision brochure, showing possibilities for the seafront
Detail from the Jamestown Vision brochure, showing possibilities for the seafront

By Laura Peberday

A watersports area planned for Jamestown may not be such a good idea: as Adam Wolfe of St Helena National Trust pointed out, “the swimming area happens to be right next to a sewage pipe.”

He said the swimming area proposed in the Jamestown Vision document, intended to attract tourists, may only be good for the fish.

He made the comment in an interview that took place before his surprise resignation as the Trust’s director.

The outfall into the sea is currently the only way to get rid of sewage waste from St Helena, said Adam: “There is no sewage treatment on the island and all the raw material goes straight into the sea.”


Click the pic to see a larger drawing
Click the pic to see a larger drawing

This means that the new swimming area could potentially pose health risks for those who choose to swim there.

The Jamestown Vision aims to smarten up the island’s capital in preparation for tourists.

However, the sewage pipe adjacent to the planned swimming area could have the opposite effect, driving tourists away.

The proposed “water facility” for swimming and sunbathing is at the western end of Jamestown seafront, close to Donny’s bar. As part of the plans, new terraces and a slipway would be built, extending into the sea. As well as swimming, these would be used for water sports such as kayaking.

Although swimming amongst sewage is bad for human health, Adam pointed out that “the fish do like it.”

Airport could bring ‘incredible’ tuna riches, says Adam

By Hardeep Kaur

“Staggering” wealth may be in store for St Helena if links are set up on the international fishing market when its airport opens.

The potential for yellowfin tuna to be sold for high prices has been pointed out by Adam Wolfe, director of the St Helena National Trust.

He said: “We are talking about huge potential for the export industry in St Helena, when you realise that blue fin tuna on the Japanese market sells for millions of yen.

“This certainly happened in South Australia, where they catch the fish, have it on an aeroplane that evening, and it’s in Tokyo next morning commanding staggeringly high prices.

“Potentially, that could happen here, to bring staggering wealth to the island.”

Adam said the fish was so “incredibly valuable” that frozen stocks were being bought up in Japan as security for investments.

“One of the issues is protecting the fishery from pirate fishing operations,” he said, in an interview to mark Maritime Awareness Week on the island.

“How on earth you can protect the resource I’m not sure, but that’s one of the things you would have to look at if you want to have a sustainable fishery here.”

There was also a potential problem of over-fishing, including recreational fishing, having a negative impact, said Adam. “People are recognising that this can have an effect, and that we need to develop commercial fishing opportunities.”

Thefts hit effort to revive endangered island plants

Gumwood trees: saplings have been stolen, along with critically-endangered rosemary plants. Picture by John Grimshaw

Security is being reviewed at St Helena’s Millennium Forest after thefts of critically-endangered endemic plants worth hundreds of pounds.

Many were to have been planted as part of the Darwin project to re-establish extremely rare native flora on the island.

Adam Wolfe, director of the St Helena National Trust, said thefts since May 2012 had left him “frustrated and disappointed, with a bit of sadness.”

Gumwoods once covered much of St Helena. Picture by John Grimshaw

In the latest episode, in late October, 29 rosemaries and 12 gumwoods were stolen. In all, the losses amount to 22 gumwood trees and 58 rosemary plants. Police are investigating.

The St Helena Rosemary, which has come close to extinction, is very difficult to raise from seed. Both species are protected under island law.

The latest theft, from an open shelter at the Millennium Forest nursery, was discovered by Meeko Paajenan, the National Trust’s horticulturalist.

Adam said: “Staff were already aware of previous thefts. The plants are set out in frames and those that were stolen were conspicuous by their absence. Meeko arrived at work two weeks ago and found that additional plants had been stolen.

“The plants were in an open hard stand area being ‘hardened up’ before being despatched for planting. The rosemary was destined for the Blue Point ecological area, the gumwoods for the Millennium Forest.”

The cost to the National Trust has been put at 10 for each gumwood tree, and £15 for each of the rosemaries, which are harder to grow. That makes a total loss of £1,090.

They are unlikely to hold any cash value to a thief: any attempt to sell them would be likely to result in the criminal being found out.

Adam said stocks were limited, and vulnerable.

“The biggest issue is the theft of the rosemaries destined for Blue Point, which is being managed as part of the Darwin Project to protect and restore the island’s endemic flora.”

St Helena is home to some of the world’s rarest plants. The national trust was awarded nearly £300,000 through the UK’s Darwin Initiative to conserve the island’s threatened biodiversity.

The island’s rosemary is a shrub, though it formerly grew as a tree and was widespread in the west of the island, particularly around Rosemary Plain.

It is classed as critically endangered on the “red list” of the world’s threatened species.

The total population size in the wild dropped to about 100 plantsat High Hill, Lot and above the Asses Ears, but it has been successfully raised in “captivity”, including in the Castle Gardens in Jamestown.

The gumwood was adopted as St Helena’s national tree in 1977.

Its seeds germinate easily but by the 1980s it was reduced to extremely low numbers because of grazing by goats and centuries of use as firewood.

In 1991, the largest surviving population, at Peak Dale, was attacked by a sucking insect that took sap from the trees and encouraged a black mould that killed them. Ladybirds from Kenya were successfully introduced to clear the bug.

More than 4,000 gumwoods have successfully been planted at the award-winning Millennium Forest on reclaimed wasteland near Longwood, but it is still classed as endangered.

Wirebird remains on global danger list, thanks to airport
Endemics for sale: St Helena’s new cash crop?

St Helena’s Darwin Initiative project
St Helena Rosemary
St Helena gumwood
John Grimshaw’s St Helena picture gallery