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Uneven dividend distribution among fishing rights holders will not be tolerated

Uneven dividend distribution among fishing rights holders will not be tolerated

By Adolf Kaure.

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon Derek Klazen explained the application process for fishing rights during the recent annual fishing industry address in Walvis Bay.

According to Klazen, the ministry made a public announcement on the outcome of the granting of fishing rights last year when Dr Albert Kawana was the minister. “These fishing rights allocations have taken care of women, youth, war veterans, traditional authorities, and people with disabilities in line with Articles 10 and 23 of the Namibian Constitution,” he said.

The government, through an invitation to the general public, granted successful rights to fishing companies in all 14 regions on 30 March 2021. “The ministry has granted a total of 298 fishing rights of which 85 are old rights holders whose rights expired from 2017 to 2020. The number of successful new right holders accounted for 213, bringing the total of rights granted to 298,” he said.

Klazen further pointed out that in accordance with Section 33 of the Marine Resource Act, as the minister, he is not permitted to consider any application received outside such period.

“Therefore, as the law states, I as the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources cannot consider any new applications,” said Klazen.

The minister also brought clarity to his ministry’s position on rights-holders that were grouped into joint venture arrangements for operational purposes.

“Despite the distrust from some sections of our society that this system would not work, we find many examples where new entrants are building up experience and fishing capability. They clearly have their vision on a long–term involvement in the industry,” he said.

Klazen maintained that he is aware of the unfair distribution of dividends and conflicts raised within joint ventures among individual rights holders caused by the lack of proper governance structures in place. These practices, he said will cease with immediate effect.

“From next year onwards, I will seriously consider allocating quotas directly to the joint venture companies only to enable maximization and greater benefit of the fishing sector,” said the minister.

The minister acknowledged the industry for honouring their statutory obligation of paying their quota fees and related levies to the state.

“For those few defaulters that are still outstanding, kindly be warned that the ministry will not issue licenses until arrears have been settled or settlement plans have been approved by the ministry. The state needs these funds to implement its programmes and projects,” stated Klazen.


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