Fishing enterprise Seaflower Pelagic Processing (SPP) has approached the Windhoek High Court to protect what it deems as its parcel of the horse mackerel fishing quota, which government is set to auction off to the highest bidder.
In an urgent application filed at the High Court, the company is asking Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula to interdict the fisheries ministry, the National Fishing Corporation (Fishcor), the finance and the public enterprises ministries from disposing of over 24 000 tons of horse mackerel, which it says forms part of its total allowable catch for 2020.
They are also asking the court to award them costs on the scale of one instructing and two instructed counsel.
The chairperson of the fishing entity, Adriaan Louw, in papers filed with the court, is seeking a rule nisi returnable on 4 September or a date to be determined by the court to interdict the minister of fisheries Albert Kawana from selling via auction or otherwise the portion it claims is owed to it through an agreement with Fishcor.
Louw further cited the agreement between SPP and Fishcor, stating they are entitled to a quota of 50 000 tons of horse mackerel per annum for a period of 15 years ending 31 December 2032.
In turn for this, the court agreement makes provision for SPP to establish and erect a land-based processing plant for the processing, canning, marketing and selling of the harvested horse mackerel and related products.
To this end, Louw says, Fishcor bought out Etale Properties, which provided quay access and suitable land for the construction of the processing facility.
The agreement further states that Fishcor will be paid a usage fee of 8% per ton of horse mackerel caught by SPP.
He further said the failure of Fishcor to implement the agreement has cost SPP dearly, as it was not in a position to procure work for its 655-strong workforce for two months, resulting in its employees staging a peaceful demonstration.
According to Louw, he learned with dismay that the fisheries minister is planning to advertise the criteria for auctioning the horse mackerel quota and is fearful the total allowable catch for 2020 will be auctioned, resulting in SPP being left out in the cold, with no sustainable income for the rest of the year.
This, he said, will result in the company not being able to fulfil its obligations to its “hard-earned” markets in Namibia and other countries. The matter will be heard today, and the respondents have indicated they oppose the application.
SPP will be represented by Everard Gouws, and the three government ministries by Mathias Kashindi from the Office of the Government Attorney; Fishcor will be represented by Anne-Doris Kaumbi. - email@example.com