WINDHOEK – The Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations has welcomed the Cabinet approved Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for hake of 154 000 metric tons for the 2018/2019 fishing season, which begins November 1 and ends on September 30, 2019. According to chairman of the confederation, Matti Amukwa, the TAC, which is recommended by fisheries scientists in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, is much like an individual’s salary in that you can get by what you have but you would always welcome more.
While expressing gratification of the TAC, announced by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Amukwa said the amount of fish the industry is allowed to catch should be sufficient to sustain operations and should be adequate to protect the fisheries biomass to ensure it can recover from the fishing season.
Speaking to New Era yesterday, Amukwa foresees a bright future for the local fishing industry but noted that all stakeholders are eagerly awaiting the announcement of new fishing rights. It is estimated that over 5000 applications were received for 120 fishing rights on offer. However, it seems as if the industry will have to continue waiting as new right holders will only be announced early next year due to the sheer volume of applications.
Statistics from the fisheries ministry for 2015/16 indicate that the hake industry remains one of the biggest employers in the fishing sector, with a total workforce of 9 701 direct jobs out of 16 510 jobs in the sector.
Cabinet additionally has approved a TAC of 200 Rock Lobsters for the new season, which also begins on November 1 but ends on April 30, 2019.
Last week Cabinet also endorsed the Total Allowable Catch for Rock Lobster of 200 metric tons for the 2018/2019 fishing season, as per the recommendation of the Marine Resources Advisory Council. These figures were revealed by Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa, who announced the Cabinet resolutions last week.
Commenting last week on the TACs, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau, said scientists had found that the biomass was in good shape to be harvested. He, however, said a moratorium on the harvesting of pilchard will remain in place until the biomass improves.
In a measure to save pilchards from extinction in Namibian waters, Cabinet announced in December that the TAC for pilchards had been set at zero for the next three seasons.
Pilchards have suffered unsustainable harvesting in the past, which resulted in a drop in catches from over one million metric tons in 1968 to less than 50 000 metric tons in 1990.