Government starts to empower small scale fisheries

Namibians to benefit
The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources officially launched Namibia's first National Plan of Action for Small Scale Fisheries
Adam Hartman
Namibia’s first National Plan of Action for Small Scale Fisheries (NPOA-SSF) was launched by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Derek Klazen, in Swakopmund on Thursday.

In line with the Fifth National Development Plan (NPD 5) and the Harambee Prosperity Plan II, in 2020, The Namibian government has adopted the voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries, and developed the five year action plan for 2022- 2026. “The action plan is aimed at recognizing the important role that the small-scale fisheries (SSF) sector plays in socio-economic growth and economic transformation,” said Klazen.

The minister said the NPOA-SSF demonstrates the government’s commitment to promote inclusion, secure the livelihoods of small scale fishers, and safeguard the rights of riverside and coastal communities as established in Harambee Prosperity Plan II, Blue Economy Policy, amongst others. “I am convinced that small-scale fisheries is an important food and nutrition security pillar and call upon strategic partners, private sector, and key stakeholders to support the NPOA-SSF’s strategic, social, environmental, and economic development intent to realise the human dimensions in fisheries management. By so doing, Namibia can ensure that the human rights of small-scale fishers remains central to the sector’s development, while maintaining sustainable resource management and utilisation practices.”

Fisheries ministry’s Executive Director Annely Haiphene saidsmall-scale fisheries sector indirectly support the livelihoods of over 280 000 Namibians, which is approximately 11% of the country’s total population. “We are talking about the sector that can provide livelihood’s to our people in a form of income, employment, socio-economic benefits, food, and nutrition security at household levels. However, the value chain of small-scale fisheries is not well established for them to fully benefit from the resource, and the sector has been under-estimated from a socio-economic perspective,” said Haiphene, hence the need for NPOA-SSF.

The plan provides special considerations and specific actions to move the small scale fisheries sector from an under-estimated sector to one which recognizes the rights of small-scale fisherwomen and fishermen to play a significance role in the mainstream of their socio-economic development.

The action guided by the plan, aims to recognize the role and socio-economic importance of small-scale fisheries in terms of their contribution to food and nutrition security, employment, and livelihoods; improve management approaches for small scale fisheries and its resources; and to ultimately advance policy dialogue on small-scale fisheries through enriching policy direction, engagement, and implementation processes at the local and national levels.

The launch of the plan coincides with the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022, which celebrates the contribution of small-scale fisher-women, men, and fishing communities to socio-economic development across the world. It also coincides with the official celebrations of World Ocean Day taking place at Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.