Development of Fisheries policy gains ground

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources held a second stakeholders consultation on the draft fisheries policy at the Atlantic Hotel, Walvis Bay last week.
According to Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau, the important stakeholder consultation marked the culmination of a successful consultation between the Fisheries policy Review Committee and consultation from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and fisheries stakeholders in all the regions of the country.
The minister said the draft policy contains important aspects and aims to ensure the sustainability of Namibia’s marine and inland fish stocks through sustainable harvesting, preservation of aquatic ecosystems, and co-management practices between Government and stakeholders.
Furthermore the draft Policy focuses on the deliberate use of fisheries development, including aquaculture as a vital tool for poverty eradication and inclusivity of all Namibians to benefit from this sector. Esau noted that it will also focus on job creation and value addition as a means of increasing the value of fisheries retained nationally.
“The policy also makes progressive inputs in the desire to address issues such as fisheries rights and quota allocations in the marine sector, with a view to discouraging perceptions of entitlement and encourage inclusitivity,” he added.
Esau said the draft document encompasses principles that are already included in current fisheries policies and Acts.
Meanwhile, Esau informed all fisheries stakeholders that the ministry has embarked upon a process to determine a mechanism of fish quota allocations to all right holders and the process is estimated to take two months.
He further said that at the end of the process, any right holder will, depending on a point or percentage system based on performance against the criteria, be able to pre-determine their amount of quota, once the total allowance catch has been published. For the process to become fruitful, the minister requested all right holders to cooperate fully with the Directorate of Policy, Planning and Economics in the ministry, which is tasked to coordinate the exercise.