Towards a fish-eating nation

20 August 2019 | Ministries

The eighth National Fish Consumption Day was launched in Walvis Bay on Friday.

This year's fish consumption day is slated for 28 September and will be hosted at Omuthiya in the Oshikoto Region.

The theme for this year's event is 'Towards a Fish-eating Nation'.

A gala dinner will be hosted the night before the event to raise funds for schools in the host region. In May this year, 1 387 mattresses valued at N$478 510 and 12 computers valued at N$221 490 were handed over to the education directorate in the Kunene Region, the host of last year's fish consumption day.

The governor of the Oshikoto region, Henok Kankoshi, highlighted the challenges faced by the 221 schools in the region. Oshikoto has about 72 066 learners and 3 001 teachers.

“Fifty-seven of the schools do not have electricity and 24 schools do not have clean running water or ablution facilities. Some of our learners in the remote rural areas travel long distances each day to attend school. Some of these distances are about 15 kilometres to school and back. Amidst these challenges the region still performs exceptionally well academically,” Kankoshi said.

He said Oshikoto needs computers at schools and at the community libraries at Tsumeb and Omuthiya.

“Nowadays computer literacy is equivalent to reading and writing. At times there are very long queues at the community libraries as there are not enough computers. Our community hostels need mattresses for the learners, as well as beds, laboratory equipment, library books, photocopier machines, printers and sanitary pads for the girls. We are also in the need of chairs and desks. In the rural areas many classrooms are made of corrugated iron or traditional huts which offer little protection from the elements.”

Kankoshi said his office would set up a steering committee to account for all donations. “We will appreciate all the help we can get as our learners' education is being jeopardised by all these challenges.”

The minister of fisheries and marine resources, Bernhardt Esau, said the fishing sector was crying for quotas but neglected giving back to the community in the form of corporate social responsibility.

“This is what is happening in our rural areas. Our children are in need of scholarships, facilities and equipment. I am calling on everyone ... to assist these schools in the Oshikoto Region.”

Esau said the government was determined to promote fish consumption.

“We believe it is good for the health of our people, it is good business for our rights holders, and it will unlock enterprise development in our rural and urban areas. Our immediate goal in this financial year is to achieve a per capita fish consumption of 20.4 kg per person per year, which translates to about 47 000 tonnes. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that at least 30% of the horse mackerel total allowable catch, or about 110 000 tonnes, is consumed locally,” Esau said.

“I am calling on members of the fishing industry, and all our partners and stakeholders to come forward and support the National Fish Consumption Day. This is our day to come together as the fisheries sector, and take our fish to the people - in their towns, villages and homes. It is a day to celebrate our fisheries with the people. It is a day when we give generously to support the needy in our communities, focusing mainly on the development of our children through education.”

National Fish Consumption Day was initiated in 2012 to promote fish consumption at regional level. It was launched at Swakopmund in the Erongo Region, and has since been held in seven other regions, namely Erongo, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, Omusati, Oshana, Kavango West and Kunene. To date, this initiative has contributed over N$3.1 million to community projects.

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