KEETMANSHOOP - Government intends to set up more fishponds in its effort to promote aquaculture projects, producing fish for communities for both consumption and income generation, said Dr Albert Kawana the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
He made these remarks recently when he visited the ‘Fonteintjie’ fishing farm as part of his familiarisation tour through //Kharas region. “All these times more attention was given to sea fishing operations whilst inland fishing operations, specifically aquaculture has been ignored,” noted Kawana.
According to the fisheries and marine resources minister, aquaculture projects will start during this year’s budget and be expanded to next year as budgetary provision has been made accordingly.
Referring to Israel in the desert, but having succeeded to ensure sustainable food security, he reasoned Namibia despite recurrent water shortages could succeed in aquaculture.
“We won the liberation struggle and must now battle the economic struggle to empower our citizens,” he emphasised. Fisheries and marine resources consulted the Ministry of Works and Transport where it was agreed to terminate the previous contract in which government lost faith and had to abandon the project.
“The Ministry of Finance will now take over and complete the project,” he added.
Kawana said once the project is completed, it could sustain and produce fish for //Kharas residents.
He emphasised that government, through Fishcor is one of the biggest employers in the harbour town of Lüderitz. “Government has now, in light of the challenges to continue operations of vessels and factories added more quotas to Fishcor and Novanam that will keep the entities operational until the end of September when the fishing will close for a period of three months,” he noted.
He said potential job losses and retrenchments will be averted through this State intervention. Kawana was of the view government will also ensure Lüderitz will not become a ghost town as it has a rich cultural history of the Nama and the sad history of Shark Island where there was a genocide.
When asked about the long-awaited announcement on successful fishing rights, the fisheries minister said there are still some technical issues to be ironed out prior to such announcement.
“Government will take a different approach this time when giving out fishing quotas in order to make sure all 14 regions will be represented and benefit accordingly,” said Kawana.