WALVIS BAY - Some local players in the horse mackerel industry are strongly objecting the sale of fish to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying it will adversely impact access to their DRC market.
Instead, they want government to refrain from the practice and allow local operators to sell directly to the DRC market. These were some of the sentiments raised during the annual fishing industry address that was convened yesterday in Walvis Bay by line minister Derek Klazen.
One of the local players Vetaruhe Kandorozu expressed his disappointment over the sale, saying they cannot compete with DRC; hence the minister should rather sell the quota to them. “How do we compete with the DRC government. The best way is to rather sell the quota to us the right holders,” he said. Local rightsholders shortly after the meeting also said they are more than capable of catching the horse mackerel total allowable catch if proper planning and allocations
are done on time.
“We have the capacity to catch the whole 350 000 metric tons for the whole year. It is just a matter of planning from the ministry and we have been very vocal about it.
You cannot make 350 000 metric tons available from June to December and expect it to be caught as the fishing season is already in the middle of the year,” one of the horse mackerel players said. Government recently sold 27 000 metric tons of horse mackerel freezer quota to the DRC government for N$84 million. The quota will be caught by local operators. The DRC is a lucrative market for Namibian fish.
A delegation from that country’s government during an earlier visit to Namibia expressed the desire to become a player in the local horse mackerel sector, resulting in the buying out of the remainder governmental objective quota that was sold through public auction earlier this year. Klazen had earlier assured the DRC government will not compete with the local players and their direct clients in Africa’s second-largest country.
“They will engage Namibia and the local fishing sector in landing more fish for their country and also want to understand the logistics and supply chain without infringing on the Namibian market,” he said in parliament earlier.
Chairman of the Confederation of Namibian Fishing Associations Matti Amukwa also earlier said that the quota which was auctioned was previously caught by Namibian operators and a significant part of the catch was sold to DRC. “Now, the quota will hopefully still be caught by Namibian operators to protect employment within the industry and the fish caught will surely go to the DRC market. It doesn’t have to be negative for our country as long as the Namibian employment and investments are prioritised and protected,” Amukwa said.
Executive director of the ministry Annely Haiphene said yesterday the quota sold to the DRC was part of the governmental objective quota that was auctioned to both Namibian and international players. “This was the leftover quota from that auction that was offered to the DRC,” she said.