Eveline de Klerk
SWAKOPMUND – A new era has dawned for small-scale fishermen and women as government launched the National Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries last week.
The small-scale fisheries sector indirectly supports the livelihoods of over 280 000 Namibians, which is approximately 11% of the country’s total population.
The implementation of the National Plan of Action for Small-Scale Fisheries is expected to bring short- and long-term solutions to most of the challenges facing small-scale fisheries in the country.
The plan, whose groundwork started in 2020 and was developed against the framework of the Global Food and Agriculture Organisation Umbrella Programme, ‘Enhancing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and sustainable livelihoods’.
The programme supports the promotion, application and subsequent implementation of the small-scale fisheries guidelines, giving emphasis to empowering vulnerable and marginalised small-scale fisheries to engage in relevant processes that affect their livelihoods.
Speaking at the official launch of the plan, executive director of the fisheries ministry Annely Haiphene said the plan signals the importance the small-scale fisheries sector plays in the country in terms of food security and income generation.
“We are talking about the sector that can provide livelihoods to our people in a form of income, employment, socio-economic benefits, food and nutrition security at household levels. What we are about to witness here today is a significant milestone for the small-scale fisheries sector, which was developed with patience, persistence and hard work from all stakeholders,” she said.
However, she said, the value chain of small-scale fisheries is not well established for them to fully benefit from the resource, and the sector has been under-estimated from a socio-economic perspective.
Hence, she said, the plan aims to move the sector from an under-estimated sector to one that recognises the rights of small-scale fisherwomen and fishermen, so that they play a significant role in the mainstream of their socio-economic development.
“I am pleased to see the plan has also addressed gender equality by ensuring that fisherwomen are recognised as a player in the fisheries sector,” Haiphene said. She added the plan also aims to improve management approaches for the sector and also aims to advance policy dialogue on small-scale fisheries through enriching policy direction, engagement and implementation processes at the local and national levels.
Also speaking at the same event, fisheries minister Derek Klazen said the national plan recognises the importance of the sector and demonstrates governments’ commitment to promote inclusion and safeguard communities.
Klazen further expressed his confidence in small-scale fisheries, saying it enhances food and nutrition security.
“I call upon strategic partners in the private sector and key stakeholders to suppose the plan,” Klazen said when he launched the national plan.