Fishing ties with South Africa bolstered

A recently signed MoU will improve and result in increased cooperation between Namibia and South Africa.

28 January 2019 | Fishing

Bernard Esau; Minister of Fisheries; "We have many similar fisheries species; some which migrate routinely between our exclusive economic zones and others which are straddling between our waters.”

Namibia and South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on co-operation in nine key areas of fisheries and aquaculture on 21 January.

The two countries will cooperate in fisheries and aquaculture research, monitoring, control and surveillance, capacity building and development, data and information.

They will also collaborate on policy formation, the economic development of fisheries, value addition, fisheries aspects in Blue Economy and promoting the development of common positions.

Fisheries and marine resources minister Bernard Esau and Senzeni Zokwana, the South African minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, signed the MoU in Windhoek.

On the occasion Esau said that fisheries constitute one of the main traded commodities between Namibia and South Africa. He pointed out that the value chains of several of our fish species are indeed quite intertwined with several fishing companies integrated in both countries.

“As such, it is in our common interest to cooperate in areas such as monitoring, control and surveillance activities, stocks assessments for sustainable fishing, and by sharing ideas on how we can together maximise our fisheries contribution to the socioeconomic development of our two countries.”

Esau also expressed his satisfaction that the MoU contains provisions on exchanging ideas on policies to maximise sustainable socioeconomic beneficiation of previously disadvantaged persons.

“Our people have a shared history, that of political and economic liberation from a colonial regime that excluded them from the economic benefits of fisheries. We are also both coastal neighbours in the South Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, we have many similar fisheries species; some which migrate routinely between our exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and others which are straddling between our waters.”

Namibia and South Africa are already cooperating in fisheries through several forums, starting from joint membership in BCC (Benguela Current Commission) together with Angola, and in several other international fisheries management organisations such as ICCAT and SEAFO, where Namibia is already cooperating on research and management.

The recently signed MoU is therefore also aimed at defining a framework through which the two countries can not only strengthen the existing relationships, but also undertake specific bilateral activities of mutual benefit to both.

Esau reiterated Namibia’s commitment to move with speed and ensure that the MoU is implemented without delay. He called upon officials of the two countries to expedite the finalisation of protocols in order to facilitate its implementation.

The marine and fisheries authorities of Namibia and Indonesia also signed a five-year plan of action on marine and fisheries resources in 2018.

Esau signed the plan of action that is expected to run from 2019 to 2021, and will see the two nations sharing information and cooperating in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as well as on sustainable aquaculture production.

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