HAFA defends trade of restricted galjoen
23 June 2020 | Fishing
The board chairperson of the Hanganeni Artisanal Fishing Association (HAFA), Claudius Ikera, says their members are allowed to catch and sell any fish species because they were given special permission by the fisheries ministry.
He was responding to a photo posted on the Intelligence Support Against Poaching's (ISAP) Facebook page. The photo, which shows a large number of galjoen at HAFA's factory, caused a stir. Galjoen, a threatened species, is a sought-after delicacy. Licensed recreational anglers may catch a maximum of 10 galjoen a day for own consumption between March and October. They may not sell galjoen.“I saw a photo circulating on social media. It is amazing to see how things become racial and I don't like it. The people who are actually plundering most of the fish resources are white people,” Ikera said. He also denied allegations that HAFA members use a prohibited bait known as annelid worms, or bloodworms.
“Galjoen is being professionally packed and moved to Windhoek for higher pricing. We ask the public to refrain from buying this product or species and help to stop this. If we don't buy it, they will not have a market,” the post on the ISAP Facebook page read. According to Ikera, the fish seen in the photo taken in the HAFA factory were not caught in one day.
“It was catches for the entire month of May. HAFA had a problem with selling the fish because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
“The restaurants are closed and all the places are closed. If there was no lockdown due to Covid-19, we would have not even had one galjoen at our factory,” Ikera said.
Erongo governor Neville Andre said fishing restrictions only apply to recreational anglers. “However, under the current stage one lockdown regulations, artisanal fishermen and women are allowed to catch and sell more fish as long as they have a permit for it,” he said. The director of HAFA, Herman /Honeb, said the fisheries ministry declared HAFA as an essential service provider which may continue fishing during the lockdown.
He also said that the HAFA Fish Shop and Take Away is currently open and is allowed to sell any fish. They are also allowed to take fish to other parts of the country, as long as they adhere to the lockdown measures.
/Honeb admitted that he is concerned about illegal fishing and trading.