N$44 million factory for Walvis Bay

24 September 2018 | Business

Leandrea Louw



Merlus Fishing in Walvis Bay launched their N$44 million Seagull fish processor wet fish and long line factory plant last week Friday. The factory will process, package and distribute seafood. In addition, N$20 million was invested in a modern ice plant with a capacity of 135 tons of ice per day.

At the launch minister of fisheries and marine resources Bernard Esau said that there is no place for those who are only in the business of selling quotas to make a quick buck.

“I know that there are those who would like to promote the selling of fish quotas, who are scared of the scorecard, because they have not complied with government policy on value addition. All they wish is to sell and cash in on quota. That culture must stop. We will not give rights for you to sell. The Scorecard is coming; it has been approved by Cabinet. We are focused on implementation and I will apply the criteria immediately without favour. Do not come to me, with ‘I cannot meet this criteria, please give me time to adjust’. Adjust now. If you don’t have Namibian ownership in your vessels that include women, war veterans or youth, do it now, before the season starts. To those who have not invested in this sector for the past 20 years, I say tough luck! Tough luck to those who have not made any investments, who were just traders of quotas - that is the end of the road for you. We must develop Namibia. We must empower our people.”

The Seagull factory is a joint venture between Merlus Fishing and Abroma Fishing, Oryx Fishing, Helgoland Fishing, Ocean Gate Fishing, Osona Fishing, Ehanga Holdings, Namibia Fishermen’s Association, Agatha Bay Fishing and the Namibia Development Trust.

“It is great to see that the ownership of this factory reflects a marriage between existing operators and the new entrants granted fishing rights in 2012. These types of partnerships in the fishing industry is particularly beneficial as it imparts much needed skills to Namibians, strengthens capital acquisition by previously disadvantaged communities and benefit investors in ensuring access to our natural resources. We want to see stable relations. This relationship must also include the struggle for the upliftment of the working and living conditions of all staff working in the industry.”

The factory will process on average 30 metric tons of raw materials into high quality finished consumer products ready for the international and local markets. It will also create at least 200 permanent employment opportunities which will be 100% Namibian and largely from female-headed households.

“We don’t want to see partners retrenching workers; workers must be secured in their jobs. The factory will also create both product and market diversification, allowing newly developed products to reach new and hitherto untapped markets. It will up-skill many previously disadvantaged Namibians as well as middle and senior management cadres through an apprentice programme. The Government policy on value addition and job creation in the fishing sector is unstoppable. The winds of change are coming. That wind will blow until we are at a point that every Namibian is employed, until we are a developed country, and until we have enough money so that every Namibian can say he or she is a millionaire. I know our people need jobs, hence we should encourage that our fish is landed wet, and processed onshore.”

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