Marine Resources Act review starts in July
The Marine Resources Act of 2000 is set for a review later this year in July. This was revealed by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Hon. Bernard Esau when he addressed members of the fishing industry in Walvis Bay recently.
He said, “The ministry has commenced with the Marine Resources legislative review process. In line with established law making process, a review of an Act is preceded by a policy review. In this regard, the ministry has secured technical assistance from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, who will provide two independent consultants to assist the ministry to review the current Marine Resources Policy and come up with a comprehensive fisheries policy by July 2015.
Esau used the opportunity to call on industry stakeholders to participate in the review process. He said, “This regulatory review will be fully consultative, particularly with industry and other key stakeholders. We urge all industry players to avail yourselves for this process once the consultation schedule is issued by the ministry.”
Esau used the same opportunity to reflect on the previous financial year, citing amongst others; the issuing of quotas, an aqua culture master plan, investments made in the sector, as well as an overview of the performance of the sector in 2014.
Hitting on the issue of entitlement amongst quota holders, Esau said, “The government has adopted a rights-based approach to fisheries exploitation, where annual quotas are allocated to right holders based on resources available.
The granting of fishing right to a right holder and or company is not an entitlement, but rather a privilege accorded to that organization on behalf of the people of Namibia.”
Esau also called on private sector participation with regards to aquaculture development. “Fish farming is expected to contribute approximately 10,000MT within the next 5 years. In order for aquaculture to thrive, it is necessary that private sector capitalise on the proper conducive environment created by the ministry. In addition, both ministry and private sector are to partner on needed investments for optimum development of this sub-sector.”
According to Esau, government had earmarked approximately N$38 million for aquaculture development, reflected in a production target of 740 metric tonnes.