WALVIS BAY - The four fishing companies that formed a consortium to try and sell their horse mackerel quota has cancelled their bidding process following a strongly-worded letter by Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhard Esau last week.
The four, Epango Fishing (Pty) Ltd, Mack Fishing (Pty) Ltd, Sinco Fishing (Pty) Ltd and Yukor Fishing (Pty) Ltd formed the consortium in a bid to sell off a chunk of their allocated quota for about N$43 million. However they told New Era that they have halted the process as they do not want to put anyone in jeopardy as Esau’s letter clearly states that anyone buying or selling quotas will have their rights and fishing licences revoked. The letter, seen by New Era, was sent to the Confederation of the Namibian Fishing Associations chairperson Matti Amukwa for distribution among the industry. The consortium was trying to sell at least 12 357 metric tons of horse mackerel to the highest bidder and had the industry in a frenzy as quota selling is illegal in the fishing sector. Their action also resulted in an investigation being launched by the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) to determine the legality of the offer. Mino Gariseb, who spoke on behalf of the consortium yesterday, told New Era that they have stopped the whole process following the letter of the minister.
He indicated that they also had been summoned to see Esau on Tuesday this week with regard to the issue.
Gariseb earlier also told New Era that the consortium was set up so that they can combine resources and form a 100 percent Namibian-owned fishing business that will actively explore participating in the complete value chain. According to Gariseb many Namibian quota holders do not intend to sell their quota, as this is illegal, but intended to enter into cost-effective catch agreements beneficial to both parties as allowed by the ministry. Easu’s letter states that anyone found to be buying or selling quotas will have such quotas and fishing licences immediately revoked by the ministry.
“I reiterate that a fishing quota may only be shared between right holders and another entity where joined capacity is being developed to exercise a fishing right,” he said.
“Selling of quotas goes against the government objective of empowerment, an inclusivity in the fishing industry.”