Seabed mining 'too risky'

The fisheries minister says the ocean is also in danger from loss of biodiversity caused by illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and overfishing.

07 October 2019 | Environment

Fisheries minister Bernard Esau says the ocean is in enough trouble with climate change and pollution, and should not be further destabilised by deep-sea mining without carrying out comprehensive environmental assessments.

Esau was speaking at the Marine Regions Forum held in Germany from 30 September to 2 October.

The forum considered options for enhancing a regional approach to ocean governance, with a view to achieving a healthy ocean.

“Our ocean is in danger – from the effects of climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, leading to acidification, a rise in sea surface temperatures, an increase in dead zones, loss of biodiversity, migrations of fish and other marine life, and rising sea levels,” said Esau.

He said the ocean is also in danger from loss of biodiversity caused by illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and overfishing. Other dangers to the ocean include pollution with plastics and other toxic substances. “We must work together if we are to avoid the dire global impacts of climate change on oceans,” said Esau.

He said one of the reasons why there are not many concrete actions to save the ocean is because politicians and the average person on the street do not understand the message coming from the scientists on the ocean's dire situation.

According to him scientists therefore should talk less with each other and more with policymakers and politicians about these issues.

“Let us go beyond the concepts of 'migration of fish and dead zones in the ocean', and talk about food security, how much economic value will be lost, and how many livelihoods will be affected by the changes in the ocean.”

According to Esau, Namibia is one of the few countries in the world whose constitution contains provisions on maintenance of ecosystems, biological diversity and utilisation of living natural resources on a sustainable basis. “We have a rights-based fisheries management, which involves annual stock assessment, using our research vessels, of all commercial marine species before setting total allowable catches (TAC) and allocation of fishing quotas.”

He said to control IUU fishing the ministry has patrol planes, patrol boats and fishing vessel monitoring systems (VMS). He added that these measures are backed by an independent Fisheries Observer Programme which ensures on-board monitoring of fishing activities. “These research and Marine Control Service activities are sustainably financed from the fisheries itself, with no subsidies from other sectors of the economy. This year alone we are committing additional US$5 million towards ocean research and protection.” He stressed that Namibia is keen to give meaning to its commitment to responsible management of 100% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“Namibia believes that ocean sustainability issues are regional and global, and are hence best solved through international collaboration.”

He said with regard to the current negotiations under Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), the world has a unique opportunity to address the biodiversity challenges in the high seas, and hence fix the missing link to sustainability of ocean biodiversity. “As the name of the negotiation indicates, all biodiversity, including fisheries, should be on the table. No biodiversity should be off-limits in the negotiations.

“Let us come up with a legally binding instrument to tame IUU and overfishing, overexploitation and disruption of biodiversity in the high seas.

“In this regard, I urge that we all agree to eliminate capacity-enhancing fishing subsidies being currently negotiated at the World Trade Organisation.” Esau added that it would be difficult to sustain ocean biodiversity in the EEZs only, no matter how well they are managed, without enforceable biodiversity measures in international waters.

“Let us stop this scramble for high seas resources. As is the case with climate change, loss in biodiversity in the high seas will affect most the developing coastal and island states, whose livelihoods depend on the ocean, even though they have little or no capacity to participate in the high seas scramble,” he urged.

Similar News

 

Lions are now livestock in SA

1 week ago - 03 December 2019 | Environment

The Operators and Professional Hunting Associations of Africa (OPHAA), which includes Namibia, has expressed concern over South Africa's reclassification of more than 30 species as...

Shifeta leads delegation to global conference

1 week ago - 02 December 2019 | Environment

Namibia will participate at this year's United Nations climate-change conference, also known as COP 25, which starts today. The 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) to...

Unethical hunting has no place in Namibia

1 week ago - 29 November 2019 | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has made it clear that there is no place in Namibia for unethical hunting, which will damage the country's reputation.Shifeta, who...

Don’t waste your e-waste

2 weeks ago - 22 November 2019 | Environment

Mariselle Stofberg“Recycling is important for all, not just companies. If we don’t want to ‘live in a trashcan,’ recycling is for us.”The chief executive officer...

Sustainability has never been a waste

2 weeks ago - 22 November 2019 | Environment

In support of its commitment to, and passion for environmental sustainability, Pick n Pay (PnP) Namibia – a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L)...

Plastic bag levy boosts local production

2 weeks ago - 20 November 2019 | Environment

AUGETTO GRAIG Plastic bags litter Namibia and add to the negative impact of climate change currently laying waste to the economy. The government has...

Plastic bag levy boosts local production

3 weeks ago - 19 November 2019 | Environment

AUGETTO GRAIG Plastic bags litter Namibia and add to the negative impact of climate change currently laying waste to the economy. The government has...

Clearing the shelters one adoption at a time

3 weeks ago - 15 November 2019 | Environment

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Windhoek held their Clear the Shelter day on Saturday, 9 November. A total of...

Devil's claw under threat

3 weeks ago - 14 November 2019 | Environment

The increase in illegal grazing in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest, as well as illegal fences in the N#a Jaqna Conservancy and Community...

Shifeta warns sand miners

4 weeks ago - 11 November 2019 | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has warned sand miners that they will be held responsible for any deaths caused by their damage to the environment.He said...

Latest News

Debts, joblessness fuel latest rating...

1 day - 09 December 2019 | Economics

Rating agency Moody's downgraded Namibia's economy on Friday to a Ba2 rating but changed the outlook to stable, citing among other things rising government debt...

By-elections galore in January

1 day - 09 December 2019 | Politics

Four by-elections are scheduled to take place on 15 January in constituencies vacated by councillors who resigned because of the enforcement of Article 47 of...

Geingob 'oblivious' to corruption

1 day - 09 December 2019 | Government

If President Hage Geingob does not realise how endemic corruption is in Namibia and what role it played in the humiliation decline of his and...

Trivialising corruption

1 day - 09 December 2019 | Opinion

President Hage Geingob's defensive stance on corruption – capped by his remark on Friday that the problem is not systemic – cannot go unchallenged.For a...

Winning the fight against measles

1 day - 09 December 2019 | Health

Over the past decade there has been a drastic decline in measles cases in Namibia, dropping from 1 815 to only 16 confirmed cases this...

What a year

1 day - 09 December 2019 | Sports

As I write my last column for 2019, I would like to reflect on what I feel was good and bad this year in the...

Ashikoto hopes for better 2020

1 day - 09 December 2019 | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA Power-Power Development and Boxing Academy promoter Risto Ashikoto says he hopes for a better...

Javier Mascherano unveiled as Estudiantes...

1 day - 09 December 2019 | Sports

NAMPA/XINHUA Javier Mascherano said Saturday that he feels motivated and ready to return to Argentinian football after his official unveiling as...

Go all out for Olympic...

1 day - 09 December 2019 | Sports

NAMPA/XINHUA ...

Load More