• July 15th, 2020

Dark cloud hangs over fishing sector

Steven Klukowski

The future for hundreds of sea fisheries workers in Namibia looks bleak and uncertain as most of the fishing companies will not be in a position to operate until the beginning of the new season when the dust has settled after new fishing quotas have been allocated.
Current quotas that have run a full seven-year cycle are expected to come to an end with some of the old quotas expected to be cut in half by up to 50%.

Fisheries minister Albert Kawana in recent media reports indicated that new applicants have been considered with information leaking in snippets that some of the successful new applicants received letters indicating they were successful in their applications.
NovaNam fishing company, which is based in Lüderitz, is one of the companies whose operations will be heavily affected by the severe fishing quota cuts.

NovaNam in a recent press statement said that as a consequence of the significant reduction of hake quotas, management fulfilled its obligation by directly informing the company’s first and foremost stakeholders – its more than 2 200 employees – of its new position.
It said that due to the current quota dilemma the company would be unable to continue catching and processing beyond the week of 22 June 2020 which is three months prior to the end of the current hake fishing season. 
Former acting CEO of Seaflower Group Paulus Ngalangi in a previous interview informed New Era that, as opposed to the past when old, established companies received adequate fishing quotas annually, they would be forced to buy additional quotas from newcomers due to these cuts. 

“Due to the fact that we closed previously for 40 days as a result of the delayed quota allocation, the company still has enough reserve quotas to operate until the end of September 2020 when the current fishing quota will close down.” 
Ngalangi, however, expressed concern that Seaflower won’t be in a position to continue operations when the new fishing season commences in November this year.

“As an entity solely depending on these quotas we will operate against a loss if salaries, maintenance and docking fees should be paid from proceeds of a quota reduced almost by half,” he emphasised. 
He suggested that new companies should form joint ventures with the old ones whereby the newcomers can provide the quotas whilst the already established companies can provide the vessels, factories and manpower. 
“This will in the end create a win-win situation,” he reasoned.

Simon Haukongo, //Kharas regional organiser of the Namibia Seamen and Allied Union (Nasau), when approached for comment said the union is sympathetic with the affected workers in the fishing industry. 
“It is a very sad situation whereby these poor people will now face possible retrenchments which will in the end lead to poverty and starvation,” he said. The unionist added that they have tried to engage the line ministry’s executive through letters but have not yet received any feedback. 

“Nasau are just in the dark as the rest on what the future will hold for its members – we want to assist them but our hands are tied,” said Haukongo. 
He raised fears that should the economic activities in Lüderitz continue to decline the town faces the prospect of turning into another ghost town.   

– sklukowski@nepc.com.na

Staff Reporter
2020-06-24 09:46:02 | 21 days ago

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