Guest Contributor | Feb 27, 2024 | 0
Fishing industry job losses not Fishrot’s fault – Klazen
By Adolf Kaure.
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon Derek Klazen said that people need to stop accusing Fishrot for job losses in the fishing industry, when he spoke at the recent Annual Fishing Industry Address in Walvis Bay.
According to Klazen, there is a clear distinction between the workers known as the ‘Okapale fishermen’, who lost their jobs in 2015 and the Fishrot.
“You who sit here as fishermen, fisheries operators, boat operators and companies know the best because you are in the industry. You people from Windhoek out there, you come and tell us that Fishrot has caused this and it has caused that.”
“We all know that people who lost their jobs in 2015 that were camped at Okapale. That is a story on its own that lasted for more than five years,” he said.
The Minister also said that more gratitude show be shown to the government for intervening and providing a solution for the Okapale fishermen. “Your caring government came in and said let’s assist those people. Up to now we are trying our best to assist these people. That is a story on its own and is not because of Fishrot and we must be clear about that. We all know that was a labour matter.”
“Fishrot came and it is something different and it didn’t not affect all these people and every time there is a problem people want to blame it on Fishrot. You in Walvis Bay you know the truth and sometimes we must speak the truth also and that is why I am asking you that if you know the truth, then speak the truth.”
“People are saying that because of the Fishrot “we are poor, because of Fishrot, people hanged themselves.” “Is that the case? No. the Okapale case is a different story and Fishrot is another story.”
Earlier during the year, Klazen announced that the government will present fishing quota to the affected fishermen through the Government Employment Redressing Programme (GERP) after a cabinet decision on the matter was reached.
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 Möwebaai 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 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.
The Okapale fishermen protested outside the Kuisebmond Stadium in previous years. (Photograph by Adolf Kaure)