World Ocean Day celebrations in full swing

Various activities
Walvis Bay is playing host to this year's World Ocean Day celebrations currently underway at the municipality complex.
Leandrea Louw
The emphasis was on the importance of protecting the ocean at the official opening of the World Ocean Day celebrations in Walvis Bay.

A mini expo is taking place at the Walvis Bay municipal building with a street parade scheduled for Saturday morning, along with a cook-off later the day. The celebrations will be concluded with live entertainment.

The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘revitalisation: collective action for the ocean’, with the aim to shed light on the communities, ideas, and solutions working together to protect and revitalise the ocean and everything it sustains.

During the official opening, the vice president of Namibia Dr Nangolo Mbumba explained that Namibia joined 13 other ocean based countries to declare 100% protection of the ocean. “Our call for action recognises that we have a collective responsibility to protect and restore the health of our ocean and build a sustainable ocean economy that can provide food, empower coastal communities, power our cities, transport people and goods as well as provide innovative solutions to global challenges.”

Mbumba said that urgent action is required because oceans are polluted, and continue to be at risk of pollution, particularly from plastics and oil. "Additionally, overfishing in particular illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) are major causes of loss of biodiversity.”

Mbumba believes that the ministry of fisheries and marine resources will be able double down on efforts to secure the safety of Namibia’s fishing and marine resources through the use of modern and technologically advanced systems and strategies to ensure zero illegal fishing rate in Namibian waters. “We must remember that every fish or marine resource that is stolen from the Namibian sea, means the loss of a job or income or business opportunity for countless of Namibians. We must endeavour to close down on all possible avenues for illegal fishing in Namibian waters as a matter of utmost importance.”

He called on the line ministry and stakeholders to strengthen scientific fisheries research, control, monitoring and surveillance of the marine ecosystem for the management of fisheries resources. “These actions are to ensure ocean ecosystem resilience. Capacity development is key and institutions should explore innovative ocean-based financing mechanisms, blue bonds, and carbon trading to support research and other critical aspects of the ocean.”

Mbumba mentioned that Namibia’s Hake Fishery is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, a globally recognised, science based standard for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability. “Namibia is in the process of ensuring that other fisheries products are certified as well. We are also at an advanced stage with the development of Namibia’s Sustainable Blue Economy Policy which will further strengthen linkages of the ocean sectors towards sustainable development.”

Mbumba emphasised that Namibia’s economic future and the livelihoods of many of its people are highly dependent on the state of our ocean and urged Namibians to pull together to ensure the sustainability of the ocean and its resources.

Speaking at the same occasion, the governor of the Erongo region Neville Andre, stressed that actions need to be intensified to stop illegal fishing from taking place along the Namibian coastline. “We need to put up drastic actions to stop illegal fishing taking place along our coastline. Not only is it illegal but it will cause the rapid extinction of the fish.”