Namibia, SA take hands in fishing sector

A new MoU will ensure that Namibia and South Africa share a precious and critical resource while taking care of it sustainably.

22 January 2019 | Fishing

Namibia and South Africa have joined forces to improve cross-border collaboration and the security of marine resources.

Yesterday, Namibia's fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau and his South African counterpart Senzeni Zokwana, on a visit to Namibia, signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in fisheries and aquaculture at the ministry's headquarters in Windhoek.

Both emphasised the importance of the “blue economy” and the sustainable use of maritime resources for economic growth, boosting livelihoods of South Africans and Namibians and preserving jobs and the marine resources equally.

Esau noted that the agreement is in line with the fact that the two countries are natural partners in the fisheries sectors.

“We are both coastal neighbours in the same ocean. Consequently, we have many similar fish species, some of which migrate routinely between our exclusive economic zones, and others which are straddling between our waters.”

Moreover, fisheries constitutes one of the main traded commodities between Namibia and South Africa, Esau said, and the value chains of several of the fish species shared between the two countries are “quite intertwined, and several of our fishing companies are integrated in both countries”.

A major focus point of the agreement lies in the power of combining forces to address the scourge of illegal fishing, with the two parties keen to launch joint policing operations, including patrols to monitor and combat illegal fishing activities.

Esau again emphasised the rising problem on the northern and southern borders of Namibia and said it's time “to tackle this problem” head-on, a mission that would be strengthened with the help of South African authorities.

“As such, it is in our common interest to cooperate in areas such as monitoring, control and surveillance activities, stocks assessments for sustainable fishing, and sharing ideas on how we can maximise our fisheries' contribution to the socioeconomic development of our two countries,” Esau said.

The agreement includes nine key areas of cooperation, including research on fisheries and aquaculture, monitoring and surveillance, capacity building and development, data and information collection, policy collaboration and collaboration on economic development opportunities.

Further, collaboration on value addition, fisheries aspects in the blue economy and promoting the development of common positions are also addressed.

Both ministers stressed the benefit of the agreement noting that it will do much to help achieve sustainable development goals in the fisheries sector, for both countries.

Namibia and South Africa already cooperate on several fishery forums, including their joint membership in the Benguela Current Commission, together with Angola, and in several international fisheries management organisations including the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO).

Namibia has similar agreements in place with the Galician government in Spain, and with Angola and the DRC, which are all aimed at facilitating the development and market access of Namibian fisheries products.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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