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Fishing sector ‘resilient and vibrant’

2021-04-30  Edgar Brandt

Fishing sector ‘resilient and vibrant’

Newly appointed fisheries minister Derek Klazen recently motivated a N$191.4 million budget for the 2021/22 financial year. This amount includes just over N$17 million for the implementation of six developmental projects that produce fingerlings for the aquaculture farmers. 

Of the amount for which Klazen was seeking approval, some N$173 million is slated for the ministry’s operational budget, and N$17 431 000 is earmarked for the development budget. 

Said Klazen: “This allocation will enable my ministry to deliver quality services, sustainably manage the living aquatic resources and promote the aquaculture sector. As a ministry, we remain acutely cognisant of the economic downturn that intensifies the challenges faced by many countries around the world, including Namibia, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, the ministry is conscious that more than ever before, it should do more with less financial resources to execute its mandate.”

Klazen noted that despite the multi-sectoral impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the fishing industry remains resilient and vibrant, and will continue to flourish and adapt to the new normal.

“The ministry is at an advanced stage to developing the Blue Economy Policy and its governance framework in line with the targets and goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With this, the ministry aims to contribute to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on life below water, and also contribute to the realisation of SDG 1 and 2, which finds majestic form in Article 95(l) of the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, which provides for the maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes, and the biological diversity of Namibia and utilisation of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future,” he added.  

Survey and stock assessment 

This programme, for which N$38.5 million is allocated, conducts research in order to assess the status of the commercially exploited marine resources, and provide scientific advice on the sustainable harvest levels and the required relevant management measures. For this programme, the ministry requires funding to enable the collection of research data for the commercially harvested species, and to maintain research infrastructure. In addition, routine scientific surveys and field activities are expected to be conducted during the 2021/2022 financial year to ensure continuity of the time series trends. 

Said Klazen: “The continuation of the time series trends is crucial for the proper assessment of the stocks and marine environment, and consequently for providing the best scientific advice and the setting of the annual Total Allowable Catches (TAC) for the sustainable utilisation of these species, as prescribed by international standards. Moreover, the ministry will also conduct an orange roughy biomass survey in 2021 to assess the status of the resource, and decide whether the stock has recovered adequately to resume the commercial exploitation of this species”.

Human resources development 

The purpose of this programme, for which N$37.8 million was allocated, is to provide administrative support services such as finance, human resources, information technology and procurement to support the development and execution of assigned functions and programmes. 

During the 2021/2022 financial year, the programme is expected to continue providing support services by maintaining ICT equipment and network infrastructure, conduct prudent financial management, fulfill staffing needs, and continue to create a conducive working environment as well as equip staff members with different and needed skills. 

Marine and inland monitoring

Some N$66.8 million has been allocated for the ministry to carry out the function of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) to ensure living aquatic resources are protected. This is done through the combating of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities within Namibia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as well as on the inland water bodies.

Under the MCS programme, law enforcement officers, namely fisheries inspectors, carry out activities such as air, sea and river patrols to monitor whether fishing activities are carried out within the ambit of the laws. The MCS programme includes monitoring of all landings at land-based fish processing plants/facilities, ports and off-port limits, as well as to conduct coastal and land patrols and inspections. The financial resources being requested for this programme include the maintenance and repair of the patrol vessels, aircrafts and vehicles.

Promotion of aquaculture 

The purpose of this programme, for which N$34.3 million was allocated, is to ensure the responsible development of aquaculture and the sustainable utilisation of inland fisheries resources, to increase income generation, enhance food security, reduce poverty, create employment, improve rural livelihoods at household levels, and increase sector investment. 

Under this programme, eight fish farms are producing fingerlings and/or market-sized fish for distribution across the country. 

“A large sector of our rural people engages in subsistence inland fisheries activities. In this regard, my ministry continuously assesses the sustainable commercialisation of inland fisheries in order to safeguard the resource base for those who are dependent thereon. To this end, my ministry gazetted an additional five fish protected areas (fisheries reserves) in the Kwando/Chobe system for sustainable management directly by the communities themselves to prevent external, unsustainable exploitation,” noted Klazen.

Policy and economic advice 

The main purpose of this programme, for which N$11.1 million was allocated, is to advise the ministry on the impact of fisheries policies on the performance of the sector, and to report on its socio-economic performance. This includes coordination of the implementation of NDP5, HPP II and the finalisation of the Blue Economy policy and the framework in the fisheries sector. 

Coordination and support services  The main purpose of this programme, for which N$2.7 million was slated, is to oversee all government policies and operations with regards to fisheries management; and to ensure that the objectives of the ministry are achieved, and polices are properly implemented. 

2021-04-30  Edgar Brandt

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