Regions with fewest fish quotas revealed

01 June 2020 | Fishing

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Fisheries minister Albert Kawana last Friday said he has discovered that Zambezi, Omaheke and the two Kavango regions have systematically benefitted the least from fishing quota allocations.

He did not reveal the regions that have dominated the allocation charts. The minister said he is working towards addressing this anomaly. It is not clear whether this exclusion is addressed through the latest allocation of fishing quotas.

“I was surprised when I came here and we did this process, to find out that the Kavango East, Kavango East, Zambezi and Omahake regions benefitted the least. There is going to be a detailed information sharing available after everything is done,” he said.

Kawana, who took over the ministry after his predecessor Bernhardt Esau was implicated in the billion-dollar Fishrot bribery scandal and subsequently arrested, said these are some of the irregularities he encountered at the ministry.



Namibian-controlled

The minister said, contrary to popular belief, the country's fishing industry is controlled by Namibian operators.

“Between 80 and 90% of this industry is controlled by Namibians.” According to him, the ministry is looking at implementing aquaculture projects to make sure these regions are included.



Jobs for fishermen

Meanwhile, Kawana said government has arranged for 1 300 fishermen to get their jobs back through the new allocation of fishing quotas.



“This absorption consists of about six companies which have offered the best terms and it will cost government about 19 850 metric tonnes of horse mackerel as well as 5 816 metric tonnes of hake. However, the responsibility of placement of the fishermen will be done and coordinated by the labour ministry,” he said.

Kawana, however, cautioned that the process might be slow, but that he is hopeful that by the end of June those workers would be absorbed.

“I discovered that in 2017, 2018 and 2019, some companies had their fishing rights expired but unfortunately they operated to maintain employment. More than 7 000 jobs were affected. If we didn't [allow them to continue], we would have had to answer for the welfare of these workers.”

It has been widely reported that job losses in the fishing industry over the years were caused by Esau's reallocation of fishing quotas to those linked to the unfolding Fishrot scandal.

It is alleged that Iceland seafood company Samherji paid over N$150 million in bribes to secure access to horse mackerel quotas in Namibia.

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