WALVIS BAY – Despite government tightening security measures, the plundering of the country’s marine resources continues unabated.
Fisheries deputy minister Sylvia Makgone said on Friday that the ministry is doing all it can to protect the country’s natural resources from illegal fishing.
Her response comes after several fishermen and an Angolan news agency reported detecting unflagged foreign vessels fishing illegally in Namibian waters.
New Era was alerted earlier that huge
trawler vessels are detected sneaking into Namibian waters, plundering the country’s resources. A fisherman who spoke to New Era last week said they are frequently catching fish close to the area where the foreign vessels were detected. “It is indeed a concern, knowing that our country does everything right in terms of marine protection, yet foreigners sneak in and threaten our livelihoods with illegal activities,” the fisherman lamented.
He said they have since reported the matter to the ministry. The chairperson of the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations, Matti Amukwa, earlier also indicated that illegal fishing is a major concern, and that the industry always encourages companies and their crew to report such activities to the ministry.
Makgone said illegal fishing indeed takes place, but “we have measures in place, although it may not be 100% perfect.”
The ministry has two permanent vessels stationed near Angola to monitor and detect any illegal activity.
“The two vessels are operating on a rotational basis to make sure that we have a permanent presence in our waters,” she explained.
In addition, the ministry also upgraded its vessels management system from reporting activities every four hours to every two hours now, as well as air patrols. “It is not as if we are not doing anything as a ministry or government, but of course a thief is a thief. Despite putting all measures in place, thieves come in one way or the other. All in all, we are trying our level best to protect our exclusive economic zone,” the politician stated.
Illegal fishing is a key driver of global overfishing. It threatens marine ecosystems, puts food security and regional stability at risk, and is linked to major human rights violations and even organised crime.