Split views on ministry’s performance

05 March 2019 | Fishing

JANA-MARI SMITH

The responsibility to manage Namibia’s rich bio-diverse coastal and riverine waters is a challenging task that has experts split on how well that responsibility is being carried out by the fisheries ministry.

Development economist and University of Namibia (Unam) senior lecturer, Blessing Chiripanhura, who conducted and co-authored an extensive analysis of the fishing industry for a 2016 paper, says overall the ministry “is doing a good job protecting and managing Namibia’s fisheries”.

Chiripanhura says he reached this conclusion “after carefully considering the history of the sector, how other countries plundered the marine resources in the pre-independence period, and the extent to which the ministry has safeguarded the stocks of fish, thus allowing for the sector to grow sustainably, except for pilchards”.

Chiripanhura also praised the ministry’s co-operation with other stakeholders in the sector, including countries who have been enlisted to improve the ability of government to protect fisheries stocks from overexploitation, through surveys and anti-poaching activities.

Yet others point out concerns related to the ministry’s dual role as both the guardian of resources, particularly marine resources, while also being tasked to drive the economic benefits derived from those same resources.

As a result, the ministry has been accused of prioritising the commercial exploitation of marine resources over and above its mandate to protect stocks and support the ecosystem, as well as ensure sustainability in the sector.

A scientist who declined to be named said the crux of the matter is that there is “no separation of commercial interests and sustainability and environmental interests, which always come second”.

A case in point is a three-year moratorium placed on pilchard fishing at the end of 2017, after many had accused the ministry of ignoring ample evidence in the preceding years of the collapse of pilchard stocks, which were nearing extinction.

The 2017 ban was preceded earlier that year with a defiant announcement by the ministry of a 14 000-tonne pilchard quota.

If a fishing ban had been put in place decades ago, thereby prioritising long-term interests as opposed to short-term interests, “we would now have a vibrant pilchard fishing industry, with many jobs and a healthier marine ecosystem”, the scientist argued.

Moreover, the ministry has faced frequent criticism for refusing to share research and survey on the sector and over the fact that no environmental impact assessments are required.

The ministry’s lack of transparency, coupled with serious constraints due to a lack of staff and other resources to effectively manage and maintain the sector, including the freshwater sector, which faces a serious decline in fish, was highlighted as additional key concerns.

Local interests

Addressing the ministry’s emphasis recently on the ‘Namibianisation’ of the commercial fishing industry, Chiripanhura said government should focus not only on local empowerment, but on practical aspects, including the “distributional aspects of the policy”, by considering which Namibians benefit and put strategies in place to ensure wider participation in the sector.

Chiripanhura said he hit “several brick walls” while conducting research to identify the shareholders of companies benefitting from fishing quotas.

“If there can be more transparency in this regard, as well as in the process of quota allocation, that could help improve the governance of the sector,” he said.

Another key issue with regard to the ‘Namibianisation’ of the sector for government to consider, he said, is the fact that operators often have “little or no access to capital and have to rely on hiring foreign vessels to fish for them”.

As pointed out by other concerned stakeholders, Chiripanhura said this leads to leads to “rent-seeking opportunities that militate against job creation and the building of capital stocks and capacity for Namibia to significantly gain from the fisheries sector”.

Access to credit should be a “cornerstone” to the endeavour to improve local participation and benefits for Namibians, he said.

Similar News

 

Fishing quota auction storm grows

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKGovernment's decision to auction off its fishing quota, and then use the proceeds to finance its efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic is continuing...

Samherji begs for release of seized vessel

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKIcelandic firm Samherji, which is at the centre of the Fishrot bribery scandal, has asked Namibian authorities to release its fishing vessel Heinaste, which...

Govt quota auction sparks 'second Fishrot' fears

4 days ago - 11 August 2020 | Fishing

LEANDREA LOUWWALVIS BAYFishing industry players are worried that the country will be plunged into another Fishrot scandal if the government auctions its fishing quotas for...

'Feed the hungry with fish'

1 week ago - 06 August 2020 | Fishing

ADOLF KAURESWAKOPMUNDCommunity activist and member of the Swakopmund Citizens Association (SCA), Jade McClune, recently urged the government to donate fish parcels to every Namibian household...

'Kawana forcing us into sex work, criminality'

3 weeks ago - 24 July 2020 | Fishing

OTIS FINCKWALVIS BAYEmployees at a Walvis Bay fish factory are begging fisheries minister Albert Kawana to hand the company a fishing quota or they will...

Samherji was unprofitable, it claims

3 weeks ago - 23 July 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEK Despite revelations that Icelandic fishing company Samherji was complicit in the syphoning of large sums of money out of...

HAFA defends trade of restricted galjoen

1 month - 23 June 2020 | Fishing

ADOLF KAURE SWAKOPMUND The board chairperson of the Hanganeni Artisanal Fishing Association (HAFA), Claudius Ikera, says their members are allowed to catch and...

Job cuts loom at Novanam

1 month - 16 June 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKJob cuts are expected at NovaNam after the fishing company had its quota reduced.The company’s MD, Edwin Kamatoto, was not willing to give any...

Regions with fewest fish quotas revealed

2 months ago - 01 June 2020 | Fishing

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKFisheries minister Albert Kawana last Friday said he has discovered that Zambezi, Omaheke and the two Kavango regions have systematically benefitted the least...

New applicants get 53% of fishing quotas

2 months ago - 29 May 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKEighty-one old fishing right holders have been handed new fishing quotas, while...

Latest News

Thought leadership

1 day - 14 August 2020 | People

NDANGI KATOMAIn a very short time, the coronavirus has changed so much about our lives.It is easy to think you’ll never get ahead when you...

Marketing through the lens of...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | People

ESTER KAMATIAs part of the DOLOLO group of entrepreneurs and a 2019 alumnus of the Africa Pathfinders Leadership initiative, Andreas Elifas’s objective is to attain...

Price monster hungry

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Economics

Although annual overall inflation in Namibia last month stayed unchanged at 2.1%, annual overall food inflation increased to 6.2% - up from 4.9% in June...

Tough times for mines in...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Of the 16 operating mining companies included in the latest annual review of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, six last year...

Fishing quota auction storm grows

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKGovernment's decision to auction off its fishing quota, and then use the proceeds to finance its efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic is continuing...

Samherji begs for release of...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Fishing

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKIcelandic firm Samherji, which is at the centre of the Fishrot bribery scandal, has asked Namibian authorities to release its fishing vessel Heinaste, which...

Education kneecapped by shortage of...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Education

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUEducation minister Anna Nghipondoka says Namibia has a backlog of over 5 000 classrooms, which has made it a challenge to comply with the...

Growing hip-hop in the north

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Art and Entertainment

MICHAEL KAYUNDE WINDHOEKSkipper Wills' breakthrough came in 2017 when he was selected to take part in the Old & New hip-hop documentary. He has since...

Kay-Z Bearens on his 2020...

1 day - 14 August 2020 | Art and Entertainment

MICHAEL KAYUNDE WINDHOEK Rapper Kay-Z Bearens released his first single in 2015, and though on the underground scene, he's pushed his music over the years.In...

Load More