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Klazen cautions fishermen not to take GERP fishing quota opportunity for granted

Klazen cautions fishermen not to take GERP fishing quota opportunity for granted

By Adolf Kaure.

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon Derek Klazen said that the government will not present new opportunities if the recipient fishermen neglect the fishing quota availed to them as part of the Government Employment Redressing Programme (GERP).

The minister made these remarks during a dialogue with labour unions and workers’ committees on a week ago in Walvis Bay.

“The fishing quota remains the property of the government and once a worker resigns, dies or retires or gets dismissed due to misconduct from their allocated companies, the fishing quota is returned to the government and that will mean the end of the participation,” said Klazen.

The dialogue addressed the wrong perception currently prevelant among some of the fishermen that the fishing quota under the GERP belongs to them and that they can transfer this fishing quota to a new entity at will.

It also clarified the misconception that when they resign from their allocated companies, they can take the fishing quota with to a new entity.


After a cabinet directive, the ministry began with the process of finding component companies in November 2022 by placing a public call for interest in local newspaper.

The ministry then evaluated the responses and reported back to cabinet with its recommendations.

Cabinet approved seven successful hake (6224 metric tonnes) and horse mackerel (11250 metric tonnes) companies after these companies demonstrated their capacity and readiness to provide the required jobs.

The successful companies: Helgoland Fishing, Trilliant Investment, Iyaloo Women Investment Group, Blue Chromis, Rukatuka Investment, Aluhe Fishing, and Namfi Fishing Mowebaai Joint Venture, commenced with obtaining a list of people to be employed and will soon receive letters indicating the quota amount equal to the number of jobs they are providing and enter into employment contracts with them.


In 2015, NAMSOV a Namibian midwater trawl fishing company, laid off a number of workers after the government took away nearly half of its quota.

By October 2015, an estimated 1000 fishermen lost their jobs aboard numerous fishing vessels belonging to various fishing companies, in the horse mackerel and hake sub-sectors following their participation in an illegal industrial strike.

Out of protest and in an effort to bring their plight to the attention of the authorities, these former workers camped at the Walvis Bay’s Kuisebmond Soccer Stadium for a period of close to five years.

Persuaded by the ordeal of these fishermen, Cabinet directed the fisheries ministry to establish mechanisms to address the plight of the affected workers.

Following the directive, the then Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon Dr Albert Kawana, engaged the affected fishermen in collaboration with the fishing companies, recognized labour union representatives, the offices of the Erongo and Kharas Governors, how best the affected fishermen can be gainfully re-employed.

During this time, prospective interested companies were requested to make written submissions for consideration by the minister, which proposals should detail the number of fishermen to be absorbed and the quantum of the required fishing quota.

What followed thereafer was a meticulous process of analysis, negotiation and an in-depth look how best to match the skills of the fishermen to the available jobs, establishing means to bringing the fishermen’s ordeal to a close and how to ensure that the jobs are protected from ill-conceived picketing, expression of publiic dissent and away from the clutches of misdirection.

The fishermen were re-employed but quickly became disllusioned with their respective employers as these companies did not have actual jobs for them instead making them recipients of a monthly unemployment benefits, sparking a mass resignation.

Then the ministry carried out an unemployment verification call and discovered an additional 212 fisheremen who lost their jobs after being abandoned by SAGE Seafood Namibia, the Namibian operating company for the Icelandic compnay Samherji on board two fishing vessels known as Saga and Geysir.

Cabinet was informed on the matter and directed the ministry to start a public and transparent process which would culminate in the appointment of competent companies able to uptake all the workers on a full-time and permanent basis.

The fishermen protested outside the Kuisebmond Stadium in previous years. (Photograph by Adolf Kaure)


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