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

 

Retrenched fishermen to get jobs back

2 days ago - 12 December 2019 | Fishing

Acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana says all the workers who lost their jobs due to Namsov losing its fishing quota under dubious circumstances during the...

Fisheries federation wants assurances

5 days ago - 09 December 2019 | Fishing

The chairperson of the Federation of Fishing Associations Matti Amukwa says he would like to see acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana create stability following the...

Retrenched fishermen narrate ordeal

1 week ago - 06 December 2019 | Fishing

“My car was repossessed by the bank as I could no longer honour my payment obligations,” Sylvester Mbadi, a former employee of Namsov, has told...

Cabinet shoulders fishing quotas burden

1 week ago - 05 December 2019 | Fishing

Acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana will seek cabinet guidance on whether or not to proceed with the allocation of fishing rights, amidst fears the process...

Icelandic, Russian captains appear for illegal fishing

3 weeks ago - 22 November 2019 | Fishing

JEMIMA BEUKES Icelandic and Russian fishing boat captains have appeared in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court for illegal fishing in Namibian waters.Police...

Another Fishgate 'kingpin' falls

3 weeks ago - 21 November 2019 | Fishing

Fishcor board chairperson James Hatuikulipi has resigned from the state-owned fishing enterprise amid the ongoing fallout over an alleged bribery scandal involving hundreds of millions...

Icelanders fed with bribery loot

3 weeks ago - 20 November 2019 | Fishing

While Namibians have faced drought, hunger and poverty over the years, Iceland's biggest seafood company Samherji fed thousands of that country's residents for free at...

'We didn't go to the bush for corruption'

3 weeks ago - 20 November 2019 | Fishing

Attorney-general and acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana says the liberation struggle was never about self-enrichment, while strongly hinting at the betrayal of those who are...

Blue economy in spotlight

3 weeks ago - 20 November 2019 | Fishing

The fisheries ministry on Monday commenced a two-day high-level expert policy dialogue on the blue economy, climate and environmental sustainability.The dialogue, which ended yesterday, was...

Whistleblower spills more beans

3 weeks ago - 19 November 2019 | Fishing

Jóhannes Stefánsson, the Icelandic fishing executive who says he facilitated N$150 million in bribes for Namibian politicians and officials in exchange for gaining access to...

Latest News

Rundu chaos engulfs Swapo again

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Politics

The same chaos that engulfed the Rundu town council office-bearers election late last year, which dragged on to earlier this year, is once again playing...

Intercape confirms terrifying bus robbery

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Crime

While confirming a terrifying incident in which Intercape passengers were robbed at gunpoint on their way to Harare, the bus company did not answer questions...

Action, not promises

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Opinion

Acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana's utterances on Wednesday in Walvis Bay, where he addressed the fishing industry, must have come as music to the ears...

Erastus gets CEO nod

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Business

Licky Erastus has been appointment as the new CEO of Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC). Erastus had served as the company's acting CEO since June...

Dam levels still critical

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Disasters

While several dams have received inflows following good rains over the majority of the country, forecasts indicate that most parts of Namibia can expect only...

N$100k fine for ivory possession

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Crime

A man has been sentenced to a fine of N$100 00 or four years in prison for illegal possession of four elephant tusks. Bangorogile Motsokwe...

Students accuse Schlettwein of 'sabotage'

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Education

The Students' Union of Namibia (SUN) has accused finance minister Calle Schlettwein of sabotage, saying he is yet to release monies to pay their tuition...

Hundreds of thousands food insecure

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Disasters

ELLANIE SMIT Namibia’s agricultural sector has been contracting for the past five years and rural households and small-scale farmers have been severely affected, with 700...

Rundu welcomes ACC probe

1 day - 13 December 2019 | Disasters

KENYA KAMBOWE Rundu mayor Isak Kandingu has responded to a letter circulating on social media which alleges that the Rundu town council illegally swapped land...

Load More