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Fisheries ministry responds to illegal beach grading at Lüderitz

Fisheries ministry responds to illegal beach grading at Lüderitz

By Adolf Kaure.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources says that it does not tolerate activities which cause harm to the environment after an incident of beach grading was reported to their Lüderitz office on Wednesday.

According to the ministry’s public relations officer, Uaripi Katjiukua, the ministry does not condone such activities. “This grading activity will also add to beach erosion and hummock dune damage,” Katjiukua said in an interview.

Information provided to the ministry indicates that the grading and raking activities were caused by a company that obtained temporary rights to collect washed-up kelp on the Lüderitz beach.

However, the regulations relating to Namibians’ Island Marine Protected Areas do not permit it as it states that: “A person may not cut or harvest live kelp in the Namibian Islands’ Marine Protected Area.”

“Where the cutting of kelp is considered necessary, this will only be allowed if a permit has been granted, after an application has been submitted to the regional office of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.”

The hummocks, situated at the back of Lüderitz beach, are an essential coastal feature which stabilizes the coast and provide essential habitats for shore-birds (both local but also migrants) as well as other organisms. They are the results of the shrub “Salsola nollothensis” which is an endemic plant to the region between southern Namibia and the Northern Cape Province in South Africa. The plant is slow growing but essential to the coastal ecology and also attracts tourism to the area.

Katjiukua said that the company that obtained permission, tried to search for deeper layers of kelp buried underneath the sand over the years.

“For that they brought in a large road grader to rake a small part of the beach, near the high-water mark, to bring the deeper layers to the surface,” she said.

Ministry officials are still working on the ground to investigate the incident further.

“We are still looking into this matter, we have noted it, our staff in the region are investigating to see how such an activity was conducted in a national park without the ministry’s consent,” said public relations officer of the Ministry of Environment Forestry Tourism, Romeo Muyunda.


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