Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – The hake fishery has seen a slight reduction in the total allowable catch for the 2021/2022 season.
Information minister Peya Mushelenga last week announced Cabinet endorsed the TAC for hake and rock lobster based on the recommendations from the scientists and the marine council and submitted by the fisheries ministry in October.
“Cabinet endorsed the total allowable catch for hake of 154 000 metric tonnes (MT) and rock lobster of 180 000 MT,” Mushelenga said. The current TAC is 6 000 MT less than the previous TAC that was set at 160 000 MT.
Meanwhile, the executive director of the fisheries ministry, Annely Haiphene said the reduction should not be seen as a negative factor or a concern as hake is in a healthy state. “We are just taking precautionary measures according to the guidelines of the Marine Stewardship Council. We must ensure that we are adhering and making sure that our hake is not impacted by other measures we are taking, hence the slight decrease,” she said.
According to Haiphene, the reduction does not also mean that there is a problem in the hake biomass, but that the country and the ministry is ensuring sustainability for future generations based on international guidelines.
“It does not mean we have a problem with the biomass. Even if we put it on 160 000 MT today, it will not have a negative impact on the fishery. It is a precautionary measure as we are being monitored by the MSC council. The 2021/2022 hake season commences from 1 November until 30 September next year.
The fishing industry overall is the third-largest employer with the hake sector contributing more than 10 000 jobs in the industry.
As for the rock lobster TAC, Mushelenga said Cabinet endorsed that it remains at 180 000 MT, the same as the previous season’s TAC.
The rock lobster season runs from 1 November until 30 April next year.