Namibia’s Marine Resources Act (2000) was drafted to provide for the conservation of the marine ecosystem and the responsible utilization, conservation, protection and promotion of marine resources on a sustainable basis; for that purpose to provide for the exercise of control over marine resources; and to provide for matters connected therewith. Through this act the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has been mandated to sustainably manage the living aquatic resources and promote the aqua- and mariculture sector. view post
Thus since independence in 1990 the Namibian Government has taken commendable steps to rebuild commercial fish stocks that were depleted, promote maximum participation of Namibians in the fishing industry, and increase accrued benefits to the local and national economy from the industry.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources envisioned for Namibia to become a leading fishing nation with a well-established aqua- and mariculture industry. To this end, the Ministry has put policies and a legislative framework in place to regulate and direct the fishing and aquaculture industry in the government development agenda. The Ministry has fostered a close relation and partnership with the fishing industry by consultation and sharing of ideas on how to better the environment in which the private sector operates. Considering its mandate, the Ministry is striving to manage the living aquatic resources on a sustainable basis to ensure an environment conducive to prosperous fishing and aquaculture sectors.
To date, aquaculture and mariculture development has been sub-optimal in relation to MFMR targets and this sector still does not contribute well enough toward GDP, employment creation, poverty reduction and food security. Given that aquaculture/mariculture are still seen as unknown industries with no significant track record in Namibia, the private financial institutions are skeptical in availing finance. In addition, the coastline of Namibia is limited with bays and indentations suitable to sheltered mariculture production. On the freshwater side, many of the operations were not based on through feasibility and environmental impact assessments, which led to poor location, especially in flood zones. Freshwater aquaculture has thus not yet become a consistent and secure food supplement and/or income earner for rural populations.
Fisheries remains one of the top five GDP contributors in Namibia, contributing 5% (2009) to Namibia’s total foreign earnings, and employing around 15 000 people in total (seasonal and part-time workers included). Given each of these 15,000 people support at least three others (relative/dependents), the total benefit from the sector may reach 45, 000 people in the coastal towns. Goods and service suppliers to this sector are also beneficiaries who rely on the economic health of the industry. However, over the years the industry has been confronted with a number of challenges that it needed to overcome for it to remain a force to be reckoned with in the Namibian economy. Access to financial capital for vessel acquisition remains a bottle neck to the replacement of ageing vessels. The Industry is also faced with insufficient qualified Namibian personnel to take up senior positions on fishing vessels, especially in the Midwater trawler industry.
The industry has also been faced with numerous challenges brought about by the global financial crisis, the volatility in the price of oil, fluctuating exchange rates, limited access to affordable finance, ageing vessels, and insufficient local catching and processing capacity in the Large Pelagic sector.