Rock lobster lands more than 50% of allocated TAC
The lobster fishing fleet managed to land slightly more than 50% of the allocated Total Allowable Catch during the 2012/2013 fishing season. Although this was slightly better than what was landed the season before, many players in this industry seem to be experiencing problems in many ways that prevented them from fully exploiting the quotas allocated, said Hon. Bernhard Esau, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources at the annual fishing industry address in Walvis Bay earlier this year.
Mr Rene-Dean Shanjengange, Chairman of Namibia Rock Lobster Fishing Association (Namrock Association), said that from an economical perspective it has become very expensive to land lobster bait which costs around N$9/kg adding that sometimes the transport of the bait increases the bait prices a lot more. He said fuel prices which is N$12 per liter, as well as food and spare parts have also been increasing all the time and the industry can no longer afford these expenses.
“Most of our lobsters are being exported to Japan and because they also face challenges in their economy the market prices fall which means we get less for our product”, said Mr Shanjengange. Explaining the price dynamics he said in the past two seasons there was a shortage in the market and the Japanese paid approximately N$315 per kg, but this current season the prices have dropped to approximately N$250 per kg, with further speculation that prices might drop as low as N$228 per kg.
Mr Shanjengange said the price drop is due to various factors, including the fact that the Japanese still have stock in their cold stores and that the Japanese year ends in March which means none of the companies want to buy stock at this time of the year.
He observed that from a catching point of view, at the moment the landings from the southern area are really good. “Een in bad weather one is able to work and catch lobster, while in the northern zone, the weather and strong seas are hampering the catches of the vessels.
Whole Namibian rock lobsters is currently sold to only one market namely Japan. For whole cooked frozen rock lobster, the tails are sent to Europe and the USA. “There is no trade agreement for the sale of fish products from Namibia to China” said Shanjengange.
The Namrock Association is responsible for marketing and selling Namibian rock lobster on behalf of its members.
The lobster industry continues to improve its investment which covers from an environmental impact assessment to a study to re-manufacture the new design of small traps which has proved to be more efficient in that fishery.