Economic opportunity coming for Swakop

Fish market to be constructed
The Swakopmund munici­pality is planning to have a fish market built in Mondesa to boost economic activity for local artisanal fishers.
Adam Hartman
Dozens of struggling artisanal fishers in Swakopmund will in due course be able to enjoy an income as the Swakopmund municipality and Benguela Current Convention (BCC) plan to build a fish market in Mondesa.

The term artisanal fishers refers to only shore-based fishers who walk or bicycle to the various fishing spots. Many are full-time fishers with their daily catch as the main source of income and with no other formal means of income generation.

The council, during its recent monthly sitting, said it approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the BCC in this regard, and was ready to sign it. It said it also approved the establishment of a fish market. The site has already been allocated.

The BCC was established in 2013 after the convention was signed by the Angolan, Namibian and South African governments. The overall objective of the convention is to realize a coordinated regional approach to the long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem in order to provide economic, environmental and social benefits to the region.

One of the goals of the BCC is to promote economic and social benefits to local residents. Considering this, the convention proposed to build a fish market that would support artisanal fishers in Swakopmund, and help to improve their economic and social wellbeing.

The plan

To realize this, the two parties decided to enter into a MoU. After a delegation from the municipality and BCC visited the Hanganeni Fish Shop in Henties Hay and the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust Fish Shop in Walvis Bay, it was decided to follow the idea and design of the Henties Bay shop, which is run by the Hanganeni Artisanal Fishing Association (HAFA), which has helped many artisanal fishers make a living.

The scope of the MoU includes improving the capacities of artisanal fishers to enable them to improve their own livelihoods as well as their resilience to climate change, and to provide for the establishment of a market, amongst others.

“The BCC and council partnership shall jointly explore and determine the viability of establishing a commercially oriented artisanal fish shop that is aligned with blue economy principles and geared towards raising climate change resilience of artisanal fishers and reduce stress on the marine ecosystem,” it was stated in the council agenda.

The BCC will be responsible for budgetary contributions for studies, consultancies and other services goods, and works under the partnership, while the Swakopmund council will be responsible for identifying and designating land appropriate for the artisanal fishers shop and guidance on all associated administrative processes and logistical implications.

It was proposed that the fish market be accommodated at the municipal property in Mondesa, at the partly developed erf near the Mondesa SME Dome, which was “quite suitable” for the proposed fish market.

Development of the fish market on this piece of land “will also add value to the existing businesses, as it can serve as an anchor and attract more foot traffic to the area,” the Swakopmund Council reasoned.