WINDHOEK – The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernardt Esau, is not happy with the coordination of activities in the country’s aquaculture stations, saying that production activities are still not sustainable. Speaking during his ministry’s annual staff meeting on Wednesday, Esau however said he was satisfied with the healthy harvest witnessed in 2018 at several of the demonstration farms around the country.
Addressing his staff, Esau stated that he has taken note of the ongoing monitoring programs, especially on shellfish water sanitation surveys, as well as training and extension services being offered to inland aquaculture farmers.
“The Directorate of Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries needs to do more than you are doing at the moment – it is not sufficient. You need to develop and implement plans to eventually make Namibia a major aquaculture country globally. You must run our aquaculture stations sustainably, and as best practice demonstration farms, for the benefit of our aquaculture farmers,” said Esau.
He continued that because of the critical importance of inland aquaculture to food security in rural areas, he has mobilised resources to sustain feed supply, repairs and maintenance at inland aquaculture stations. “We must develop a roadmap on how we will ensure that our aquaculture does not remain in infancy, as is the case now,” said the fisheries minister.
Commenting on the overall fishing stocks in the country, Esau noted that surveys conducted by the Resource Management Directorate indicate that the main fisheries stocks are being sustainably managed.
“I note that stock assessment surveys are returning to their normal programming, owing to financing from MRF. In this financial year, I urge our researchers to complete the studies on pilchard stocks, including assessment of interactions between this fishery and seals, as directed by Cabinet. This work should be completed by 2020, to allow ample time for considerations of the findings, and hence facilitate an informed decision on the current moratorium on this fishery which will be reviewed in 2021,” Esau explained. The fisheries ministry has been particularly busy in 2018 with issues ranging from fishing rights, international fisheries collaboration and blue economy issues.
During 2018 the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine completed signing two memorandums of understanding on fisheries cooperation; one with Indonesia, and another one with the Republic of South Africa.
“We are keen to exchange ideas with Indonesia especially on strengthening our fight against IUU (illegal, unreported, unregulated), amongst other aspects. The Republic of South Africa and Namibia are natural partners especially on fisheries, considering that we both share the Benguela current large marine ecosystem. We also trade in fisheries extensively with the Republic of South Africa, and we are both parties to several trade agreements, including economic partnership agreement between SADC and the European Union. Our fisheries MoU is therefore aimed at leveraging on these existing ties to facilitate greater fisheries development in both countries,” Esau stated.