Seal rebels encounter resistance
The publishing of an article “The Seals of Nam” activists are rebels without a cause’ by Oswald Theart from Kasote Village near Rundu led to surprising interest shown by local and international followers of the Namibian seal issue. In the absence of a public forum to debate the issue, a Facebook discussion page under the name of “Namibian Seal Conservation” was opened. This quickly led to intense debate between “Namibian Seal Conservation” and activist groups such as “The Seals of Nam”, and Mr Francois Hugo of “Seal Alert”.
It has been noted that there are some misconceptions in regard to what we stand for and what we are against: NSC believes in conservation. Conservation can be described as the wise management of the environment and its natural resources by mankind.
NSC strongly believes that Namibians have an inherited right to practice sustainable harvesting of our seals. Sustainable harvesting of animals has been practised since the origin of man. The dominium over animals and the right to their produce are considered as one of our rights.
Although we are a secular state and NSC does not want to beat the religion drum, it be must noted that even God gives us this right: ‘And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Genesis 1.2.
Namibians, being predominantly Christian, will understand this.
Art. 95 of our Constitution also recognises this right: ‘’The State shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting, inter alia: ‘maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity of Namibia and utilisation of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future…’ ’’
This right to harvest seals in a sustainable manner is also described in the Marine Resources Act.
The NSC further believes that although the current method of harvesting might appear to be cruel, it is described by scientists as the more humane method available. It may need to be correctly applied through training.
However NSC wants to state that it is open to suggestions of even more humane methods of harvesting the seals. In this regard, we will actively lobby Government to use this more humane method.
NSC further believes that the Namibian Government has been successful in its efforts of the sustainable management of seals. Moreover, NSC is also of the opinion that the large quantity of seals and their population explosion is causing harm to both the commercial and recreational fishing industry, hence our support for harvesting seals.
NSC will also work with like-minded NGOs to support seal harvesting.
One of NSC’s main areas of focus is to counter what we consider to be the malicious and misinformed international campaigns against Namibia, in particular the ‘Boycott Namibia campaign led Pat Dickens and his organisation. Such campaigns, we believe, can cause unnecessary harm to our country, especially since these campaigns are manifestly based on falsehoods and emotions.
NSC not only intends to work closely with Government but also to appoint, where possible, independent researchers to further its case by providing scientifically sound arguments. We hope, with such action, NSC would be able to advise or lobby our Government.
As this is the first platform of its kind in Namibia, where all Namibians can openly discuss this falsely emotive issue and brainstorm on how best to counter the campaign against Namibia, the NSC urges citizens to join our cause.
This can be done by visiting our FB page and by clicking on the ‘like’ button on the top right hand side. This will automatically render you as a supporter of our cause.
NSC is currently in the process of opening up a web site, which, we hope, will carry our campaign far and wide!