WINDHOEK – A committee set up to evaluate over 5 000 fishing rights applications has completed 80 percent of the work, fisheries minister Bernhard Esau told New Era this week.
Last year the ministry of fisheries had announced that a total of 5 190 fishing rights applications were received by 31 August 2018 for the 90 to 120 rights available.
This presented a massive increase from previous applications, which ranged in the region of 500 to 1 500.
This week Esau told New Era that the committee tasked with evaluating the bids was hard at work to ensure justice for all the applications, which includes rights for hake, horse mackerel and other species.
Esau further promised that the process would be concluded before the current financial year.
Government’s current financial year runs until 31 March next year. According to Esau, an independent and credible institution is carrying out the evaluations.
“Indeed, the issue of fishing rights is a matter of national importance, and is high in the priority activities of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources for this year. I can confirm that more than 80 percent of the evaluation is now completed,” Esau confirmed.
According to him, as per the Gazette Notice on the applications for the fishing rights, only persons who do not currently have fishing rights will be considered.
Hence, he said, the ministry is currently in the process of verifying the eligibility of all applicants, in view of this legal requirement.
He pointed out that in the previous public call for fishing rights, the ministry had about 400 applications, whose evaluation took two years to complete.
This time round, he said, the ministry has over 5 000 applications, and they will complete the evaluation and award process in under two years.
He explained that a full list of all applicants for the rights was published in the newspapers on 26 November last year.
“All applicants are therefore aware of the status of their application – that it was well received, for what species, and is now undergoing evaluation,” he said.
The next communication, Esau said, will be a public statement after completion of the process, followed by written communication to all successful applicants, which will be done before the end of the current financial year.
Esau earlier said the interest to participate in the fishing sector has been overwhelming this time around unlike in the past
“Before I was appointed as the minister, my predecessors had to deal with 300 applications that took them a month to work through. The first time I called for applications in 2010, 1 500 people applied and it took us six months to go through the applications,” he said.
He assured that the commission is having a hefty task to thoroughly fine-comb all applications regardless if it’s not fully completed.
2019-10-17 06:47:11 | 8 months ago