Airbus offers offshore surveillance to curb illegal fishing
European aerospace company, Airbus has expressed interest to assist authorities in Namibia with patrolling its extensive maritime Exclusive Economic Zone, to curb and prevent any illegal fishing activity.
Airbus Vice President for Africa, Vincent Larnicol, told the Namibian President, Dr Hage Geingob at a meeting last week that the French group of companies is in the process of structuring a public enterprise that will make revenue out of seizing illegal fishing vessels.
According to the Namibian Press Agency, Larnicol said that the company could expand Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and secure revenue without sacrificing the national budget.
“By seizing ships, imposing taxes and imposing particular licences on fishing boats, the company will generate revenue and with the revenue it will be able to purchase new equipment,” Larnicol was quoted as saying.
Apart from civil aircrafts, the multinational Airbus Group manufactures other equipment such as helicopters and satellites that can be used to monitor fishing activities offshore, as well as inland poaching and provide medical evacuations.
In response, President Geingob said that the government welcomes private and public enterprise, and that the proposed concept is a good idea, as long as it does not require the Namibian Government to spend money. He said Namibia’s marine patrol is not in a bad state, neither is poaching perceived as a major threat.
“The idea of a win-win situation where we can earn revenue and you recoup from the services sounds good, but I can not give you the go-ahead now without consulting the relevant ministries,” Geingob said.
Also present at the meeting was the Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste, who said the concept is an innovative approach to an old problem.
“When we look at a new enterprise, we would always want to evaluate how we can de-risk that for us, obviously from a financial perspective. We have a dramatically fluctuating currency. Those are all items we would like look into very deeply,” he said.
Another meeting was scheduled between the Airbus executive and officials of the Ministry of Public Enterprises.